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KATE KENNED 



VOL. IV. P. 



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W I L S O N'S 



HISTORICAL, TRADITIONARY, AND IMAGINATIVE 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



AND OF 



WITH AN 



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VOL IV. 



LONDON: 

WILLIAM MACKENZIE, 69 LUDGATE HILL, E.G.; 
GLASGOW AND EDINBUEGH. 




PR 




INDEX 



VOL, IV. 



Abduction, The, ...,.,. 

Amateur Lawyers, The, 

Artist, The, ' 

Autobiography of Willie Smith, . . . 

Bauldy Crabbe, 

BillWhyte, 

Bonny Mary Gibson, 

Cairn ey Cave of Gavin Muir, The, . 

Case of Evidence, The, 

Cherry Stone, The, 

Countess of Wistonbnry, 

Covenanter's March, The, . . . 

Cured Ingrate, The, 

Curlers, The, 

Dead Deal, The, 

Dissolved Pledge, The, 

Diver and the Bell, The, 

Dominie of St. Fillans, The, . 

Donald Gair, . . . ... . 

Donald Gorm, 

Doomed Rider, The, 

Douglas Tragedy, The, 

Early Recollections of a Son of the Hills, 
Edinburgh Medical Student, .... 

Elspat M'Culloch, 

Empty Coffin, The, 

Epicure, The, 

Eskdalemuir Story, The, 

Fairburn's Ghost, 

Family Incidents, 

Fatal Mistake, The, 

Gentle Suitor, The, 

Geordie Binks, the King's Jester, 

Glass Back, The, 

Gleanings of the Covenant 

Chap. I. The Grandmother's Narrative, 
II. The Covenanter's March, . 
III. Peden's Farewell Sermon, 
IV. Persecution of the M'Michaels, . 
V. The Rescue at Enterkin, 
VI. The Fatal Mistake, . 
VII. Bonny Mary Gibson, . . 
VIII. The Eskdale Muir Story, . 
IX. The Douglas Tragedy, . 
X. Sergeant Wilson, 
XI. Helen Palmer, . 
XII. The Cairney Cave of Gavin Muir, 
XIII. James Renwick, . 
XIV. Old Isbel Kirk, 
XV. The Curlers, 
XVI. The Violated Coffin, . 
Grandmother's Narrative, The, 
Ilarden's Revenge, ...... 

Helen Palmer, ...... 

Henwife, The, 

Henry Hamilton, 

Highland Boy, The, 

Home and the Gipsy Maid, .... 



PAGE 

409 

337 

29 

89 

209 

161 

245 

348 

377 

25 

145 

58 

113 

405 

112 

137 

297 

169 

43 

49 

44 

247 

289 

177 

42 

84 

385 

246 

45 

153 

243 

190 

105 

204 

57 

58 

61 

63 

241 

243 

245 

246 

247 

345 

347 

348 

401 

403 

405 

407 

57 

265 

347 

27 

321 

233 

156 



PAOl 

Hugh Baird's West India Adventure, . . . .185 
Huntsman of Ettrick Forest, The, .... 129 

James Eenwick, 401 

Kate Kennedy, 1 

Land Factor, The, . 46 

Last of the Pedlers, 273 

Leein Jamie Murdieston, 236 

Legend of the Parliament Close, A, . . . . 215 

Lord Durie and Christie's Will, 329 

Lykewake, The, , 41 

Maiden Feast, The, 33 

Meal-monger, The, 48 

Miner of Lahun, The, , 255 

Miser's Will, The, 87 

Mutiny at Sea, The, 369 

Old Isbel Kirk, 403 

Palantines, The, 3G1 

Peden's Farewell Sermon, 61 

Persecution of the M'Michaels, 63 

Physiognomist's Tale, The, 313 

Pirate's Doom, The, 124 

Porter's Hole, 352 

Provost of Starvieston, 9 

Rescue at Enterkin, The, . . . .241 

Restored Son, The, 17 

Return, The, 158 

Rival Nightcaps, The, 305 

Royal Raid, The, 225 

Sacrifice, The, 122 

Scottish Veteran, The, 98 

Sea Skirmish, The, 249 

Sergeant Wilson, 345 

Sketches from a Surgeon's Note-Book 

Chap. V. The Cherry Stone, ... 25 

VI. The Henwife, 27 

VII. The Artist, 2? 

VIII. The Cured Ingrate, . . . .113 

IX. The Three Letters, 201 

X. The Glass Back, . . . .204 

XL The Diver and the Bell, . . 297 

XII. The Epicure, 285 

Slave, The, 65 

Suicide's Grave, The, 294 

Surtout, The, 397 

Tale of Glenco, A, .285 

Thomas of Chartres, 73 

Three Letters, The, 201 

Three Rivals, The, 281 

Tom Duncan's Yarn, 193 

Two Comrades, The, 

Two Gravediggers, The, 217 

Two Sheepstealers, The, . . . 222 

Victim of Vanity, The, 353 

Violated Coffin, The, 407 

Wager, The, . 81 

Wanderings in the West, 310 

Young Artist, The, 121 

Young Laird, The, 257 



WILSON'S 



TALES OF THE BORDERS, 

AND OF SCOTLAND. 



KATE KENNEDY. 

INNERKEPPLE was, some three hundred years ago, as com- 
plete a fortification as could be seen along the Borders 
presenting its bastions, its turrets and donjon, and all the 
appurtenances of a military strength, in the face of a Border 
riever, with that solemn air of defiance that belongs to the 
style of the old castles. Many a blo;v of a mangonel it had 
received ; and Scotch and English engines of war had, with 
equal force and address, poured into its old grey ribs their 
destructive bolts : every wound was an acquisition of glory ; 
and, unless where a breach demanded a repair for the sake 
of security, the scars on the old warrior were allowed to 
remain as a proof of his prowess. The very bullets whose 
sides appeared in the walls, had their names being 
christened after the leaders of the sieges that had been in 
vain directed against it ; and, among the number, the kings 
of England might have been seen indicated by the futile 
instruments of vengeance they had flung into the rough 
ribs of old Innerkepple. But let us proceed. The proprie- 
tor, good Walter Kennedy, better known by the appellative 
of Innerkepple, was not unlike the old strength which he 
inhabited ; being an old, rough, burly baron, on whose face 
Time had succeeded in making many impressions, notwith- 
standing of all the opposing energies of a soul that gloried 
in all manner of ways of cheating the old greybeard of his 
rights and clearing off his scores. As a good spirit is said 
to be like good old wine, getting softer and more balmy as it 
increases in age, old Innerkepple proved, by his good humour 
and jovial manners, the sterling qualities of his heart, which 
seemed, as he progressed in years, to swell in proportion as 
that organ in others shrivelled and decreased. He saw 
nothing in age but the necessity it imposes of having more 
frequent recourse to its great enemy, the grape ; and that 
power he delighted to bow to, as he bent his head to empty 
the flagon which his forebear, Kenneth, got from the first 
King James, as a reward for his services against the house 
of Albany. Yet the good humour of the old baron was not 
that of the toper, which, produced by the bowl, would not 
exist but for its inspiring draught ; the feeling of happiness 
and universal good-will lay at the bottom of the heart itself, 
and was only swelled into a state of glorious ebullition by 
the charm of the magic of the vine branch the true Mer- 
curial caduceus, the only true magic wand upon earth. 

Though the spirit of antiquarianism is seldom associated 
with the swelling affections of the heart that is dedicated 
to Momus, old Innerkepple had, notwithstanding, been able 
to combine the two qualities or powers. Sitting in his old 
wainscotted hall, over a goblet of spiced Tokay, there were 
three old subjects he loved to speculate upon ; and these 
were his old castle, with its chronicled wounds, where the 
Genius of War sat alongside of the " auld carle" Time, in 
grim companionship : secondly, the famrly tree of the Iriner- 
kepples with himself, a good old dry branch, kept green 
by good humour and Tokay, at the further verge ; and a 
small green twig, as slender as a lily stalk issuing from the 
old brancli no other than the daughter of Innerkepple, 
the fair Kate Kennedy, a buxom damsel, of goodly propor- 
tions, and as merry, with the aid of health and young 
157. VOL. IV. * 



sparkling blood, as the old baron was with the spiced wine 
of Tokay : and, in the third place, there was the true legi- 
timate study of the antiquary, the ancient wine itself, the 
mortal years of which he counted with an eye as bright as 
Cocker's over a triumphant solution. As this last subject 
grew upon him, he became inspired, like the old poet of 
Teos, and the rafters of Innerkepple rung to the sound of 
his voice, tuned to the air of " The Guidwife o' Tullybody,' 
and fraught with the deeds, active and passive, of the 
barons of Innerkepple and their castle. 

The fair Katherine Kennedy inherited her father's good 
humour, and, maugre all the polishing and freezing influ- 
ences of high birth, retained her inborn freedom of thought 
and action, heedless whether the contortion of the buccce in 
a broad laugh were consistent with the placidity of beauty, 
or the scream of the heart-excited risibility were in accord- 
ance with the formula of high breeding. Buxom in her 
person, and gay in her manners, she formed the most en- 
chanting baggage of all the care-killing damsels of her day 
the most exquisite ronion that ever chased Melancholy 
from her yellow throne on the face of hypochondria, or 
threw the cracker of her persiflage into the midst of the 
crew f blue devils that bind down care-worn mortals by 
the bonds of ennui. She was no antiquary, even in the 
limited sense of her father's study of the science of cob- 
webs ; being rather given to neolerics, or the science which 
teaches the qualities of things of to-day or yesterday. -Age 
in all things she hated with a very good feminine spirit of 
detestation ; and, following up her principles, she arrived 
at the conclusion that youth and beauty were two of the 
very best qualities that could be possessed by a lover. Her 
father's impassioned praises of the old branches of the tree 
of the Innerkepples comprehending the brave Ludovick 
who fell at Homildon, and the memorable Walter who sold 
his life at the price of a score of fat Englishmen at the red 
Flodden produced only her best and loudest laugh, as she 
figured to herself the folly of preferring the rugged trunk 
to the green branches that suspend at their points the red- 
cheeked apple full of sweetness and juice. Neither cared 
the hilarious damsel much for the reverend turrets of Inner- 
kepple. Her father's description, full of good humour as 
it was, of the various perils they had past, and the service 
they had done their country, seemed to her, as she stood on 
the old walls, listening to the narrative, like the croak of 
the old corbies that sat on the pinnacles ; and her laugh 
came again full of glee through the loopholes, or echoed 
from the battered curtain or recesses of the ballium. 

That such a person as merry old Innerkepple should have 
a bitter and relentless foe in the proprietor of the old 
strength called Otterstone, in the neighbourhood, is one of 
the most instructive facts connected with the system of war 
and pillage that prevailed on the Borders, principally during 
the reign of Henry VIII. of England, and James V. of 
Scotland, when the spirit of religion furnished a cause of 
aggression that could not have been afforded by the pugna- 
cious temperaments of the victims of attack. Magnus 
Fothringham of Otterstone had had a deadly feud with 
Kenneth Kennedy, the father of the good old Innerkepple, 
and ever since had nourished against his neighbour a deadly 
spite, which he had taken many means of gratifying. His 



2 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



opponent had acted merely on the defensive ; but Ins plea 
had been so well vindicated by his retainers, who loved him 
with the affection of children, that the splenetic aggressor 
had been twice repulsed with great slaughter. Most readily 
would the jovial baron, who had never given any cause of 
offence, have seized upon the demon of Enmity and, oblorto 
collo, forced the fiend into the smoking flagon of spiced 
wine, while he held out the hand of friendship to his heredi- 
tary foe ; but such was Otterstone's inveteracy, that he would 
not meet him but with arms in his hands, so that all the 
endeavours of the warm-hearted and jolly Innerkepple to 
overcome the hostility of his neighbour, were looked upon 
as secret modes of wishing to entrap him, and take vengeance 
on him for his repeated attacks upon the old castle. 

Some short time previous to the period about which we 
shall become more interested, Innerkepple, with twenty 
rangers, was riding the marches of his property, when he 
was set upon by his enemy, who had nearly twice that 
number of retainers. Taking up with great spirit the plea 
of their lord, the men who were attacked rallied round the 
old chief, and fought for him like lions, drowning (perhaps 
purposely) in the noise of the battle the cries of Innerkepple, 
who roared, at the top of his voice 

" Otterstone, man hear me I A pint o' my auld Canary 
will do baith you and me mair guid than a' that bluid o' 
your men and mine. Stop the fecht, man. I hae nae feud 
against you, an' I'm no answerable for the wrangs o' my 
faither Kenneth." 

These peaceful words were lost amidst the sounds of the 
battle, and Otterstone construed the contortions of the 
peace -maker into indications of revenge, and his bawling was 
set down as his mode of inspiriting his followers. The fight 
accordingly progressed, old Innerkepple at intervals holding 
up a white handkerchief as a sign of peace ; but which, 
having been used by him in stopping the wounds of one of 
his men, was received with its blood-marks as a signal of 
revenge, both by his men and those of the aggressor. The 
strife accordingly increased, and all was soon mixed up in 
the confusion of the melee. 

" Has feud ran awa wi' yer senses, Otterstone ?" again 
roared the good old baron. " I'll gie yer son, wha's at St 
Omers, the hand o' my dochter Kate. Do ye hear me, 
man ? If ye will mix the. bluids o' oor twa hooses, let it be 
dune by Haly Kirk." 

His words never reached Otterstone ; but his own men, 
who adored and idolized their beautiful young mistress, whose 
unvaried cheerfulness and kindness had won their hearts, 
heard the proposition of their master with astonishment and 
dissatisfaction. They were still sorely pressed by their 
enemy, who, seeing the stained handkerchief in the hands 
of Innerkepple, were roused to stronger efforts. At this 
moment, an extraordinary vision met their eyes. A detach- 
ment of retainers from the castle came forward in the most 
regular warlike array, having at their head their young 
mistress, armed with a helmet and alight jerkin, and bear- 
ing in her hand a sword of suitable proportions. A loud 
shout from the pressed combatants expressed their satis- 
faction and surprise, and, in a moment, the assistant corps 
joined their friends, and commenced to fight. The unusual 
vision relaxed for a moment the energies of Otterstone's 
men ; but a cry from their chief that they would that day 
be ten times vanquished if they were defeated by a female 
leader, again inspired them, and instigated them to the 
fight. 

"Press forward, brave vassals of Innerkepple!" cried 
Katherine. "Your foes have no fair damsel to inspire them ; 
and who shall resist those whose arms are nerved in defence 
of an old chief and a young mistress ? He who kills the 
greatest number of Otterstone's men shall have the privi- 
lege of demanding a woman's guerdon from Katherine 
Kennedy. If this be not enough to niaki \e fight like 



lions, ye deserve to be hung in chains on the towers of 
Otterstone." 

Smiling as she uttered her strange speech, she hurried 
to her father, who was still making all the efforts in his 
power to bring about a parley. He had got within a few 
yards of Otterstone, and it required all the energies of 
Katherine to keep him back, and defend him from insidious 
blows an office she executed with great agility, by keep- 
ing her light sword whirling round her head, and inflicting 
wounds not, perhaps, of great depth on those who were 
ungallant and temerarious enough to approach her parent. 

u See, Otterstone, man," cried the laird, still intent on 
peace, and sorry for the deadly work that was going on 
arround him. " Is she no fit to mak heirs to Otterstone ? 
Up wi' yer helm, Kate, and shew him yer fair face. Ha ! 
man, stop this bluidy work, and let us mend a' by a carousal. 
Deil's in the heart and stamack o' the man that prefers 
warring to wassailing !" 

" He does not hear you, father," cried Kate. " We 
must defend ourselves. On, brave followers ! Ye know 
your guerdon. Gallant knights have kneeled for it and 
been refused it. You are to fight for it, and to receive it. 
Hurrah for Innerkepple !" And she swung her light 
falchion round her head, while the war-cry of the family, 
" Festina lenle !" arose in answer to her inspiriting ap- 
peal, and the men rushed forward with new ardour on their 
foes. 

" You are as bluid-thirsty as he is, Kate," cried the 
baron. " What mean ye, woman ? Haste ye up to Otter- 
stone, and fling yer arms round his neck, and greet a guid 
greet, according to the fashion o' womankind. Awa ! haste 
ye and say, mairowre, that ye'll be the wife o' his son, and 
join the twa baronies that are gaping for ane anither. 
Quick, woman ; tears are mere water thin aneuch, Gude 
kens ! but thae men's bluid is thicker than my vintage o' 
the year '90." 

" Katherine Kennedy never yet wept either to friend or 
foe, unless in the wild glee of her frolics," replied the 
maiden. ' c By the bones of Camilla ! I thought I was only 
fit for sewing battle scenes on satin, and laughing as I killed 
a knight with my needle ; but I find I have the Innerkepple 
blood in my veins, and my cheek is glowing like a blood- 
red rose. Take care of yourself, good father, and leave the 
affair to me. A single glance of my eye has more power 
in it than the command of the .proudest baron of the Borders. 
On, good hearts !" And she again rode among the men, and 
inspired them with her voice and looks. 

The effect of the silvery tones of the voice of a beautifu 
female on the hearts of her father's retainers, was electric : 
they fought like lions, and it soon became apparent to 
Otterstone that a woman is u more dangerous enemy than 
a man. The cry, " For the fair maid of Innerkepple !" re- 
sounded among the combatants, and soon exhibited greater 
virtue than the war-cry of the house. Against men actuated 
by the chivalrous feelings that naturally arose out of the 
defence of a beautiful woman, all resistance was vain ; the 
ranks of Otterstone's men were broken, and this advantage 
having been seized by their opponents, whose energies were 
rising every moment, as the sound of Katherine's voice sa- 
luted their ears, a rout ensued, and the usual consequences 
of that last resource of the vanquished flight were soon 
apparent in the wounded victims who fell ingloriously with 
wounds on their backs. The pursuers were inclined to 
continue the pursuit even to the walls of Otterstone ; but 
Katherine called them back 

" To slay the flying," said she, with a laugh, as the usual 
hilarity of her spirits returned upon her, " is what I call 
effeminate warfare. When men flee, women pursue ; and 
what get they for their pains more than the wench got from 
Theseus, whom she hunted for his heart, and got, as our 
hunters do, the kick of his heel ? Away, and carry in our 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



wounded, that I may, with womai; 3 art, cure the wounds 
that have been received in defence of a woman." 

The men obeyed with alacrity, and Innerkepple himself 
stared in amazement at his daughter, who had always before 
appeared to him as a \vild romp, fit only for killing men 
with her beauty, or tormenting them with the elfin tricks 
or bewitching waggeries of her restless, salient spirit. 

" I'll hae ye in the wainscotted ha', Kate," said the 
father, as he entered his private chamber, leaning on the 
arm of his daughter, " painted \vi' helm, habergeon, and 
halberd, and placed alongside o' Lewie o' Homildon and 
Watt o' Flodden." 

" I care not, father," replied Kather'-ne, " if you give the 
painter instructions to paint me laughing at those famous 
progenitors of our house, who were foolish enough to give 
their lives for that glory I can purchase for nothing, and 
get the lives of my enemies to boot ; but I must go and 
minister to the gallant men who have been wounded." 

" Minister first to yer faither, Kate," replied Innerkepple, 
with a knowing look. 

" And to your father's daughter, you would add," replied 
she, with a smile. " A bridal and a battle lack wine." And, 
hastening to a cupboard, she took out and placed on the 
table a flagon and two cups, the latter of which she filled. 

" Rest to the souls of the men I have slain !" said she, 
laughing, as she lifted the wine-cup to her head, while her 
father was performing the same act. 

" What I did ye kill ony o' Otterstone's men ?" said Inner- 
kepple. 

" Every time I lifted up my visor," replied she, " I 
scattered death around me. Ha ! ha 1 what fools men are ! 
Their bodies are teuantless ; we women are the souls that 
live outside of them, and take up our residence within their 
clayey precincts only when we have an object to serve. 
The tourney has taught me the power of our sex ; and 
there I have thrown my spirit into the man I hated, to 
gratify my humour by seeing him, poor caitiff! as he caught 
my hazel eye, writhe and wring, and contort himself into all 
the attitudes of Proteus." 

" Wicked imp !" said Innerkepple, laughing. 
" And when he had sufficiently twisted himself," con- 
tinued she, " I have, with a grave face, given the same hazel 
eye to his opponent, and set his body in motion in the same 
way. The serpent-charmer is nothing to a woman. By 
this art, I to-day gained the victory ; and I'll stake my 
auburn toupee against Ihy grey wig, that I beat, in the same 
way, the boldest baron of the Borders." 

" By the faith o' Innerkepple, ye're no blate, Kate !" said 
the old baron, still laughing ; " but come, let us see our 
wounded men" taking his daughter's arm. 

" Leave their wounds to me, father," said she. " The 
sting of the tarantula is cured by an old song. We women 
are the true leeches ; doctors are quacks and medicasters to 
us. We kill and cure like the Delphic sword, which makes 
wounds and heals them by alternate strokes." 

'' Ever at your quips, roisterer," said Innerkepple, as 
they arrived at the court. 

The wounded men had been brought in, and were con- 
signed to the care of one of the retainers, skilled in medicine; 
Katherine's medicaments her looks and tones being re- 
served for a balsamic application, after the wounds were 
cicatrized. The other retainers were, meanwhile, busy in 
consultation, as might have been seen by their congregating 
into parties, talking low, and throwing looks at Innerkepple 
and his fair daughter, as they stood on the steps of the 
inner door of the castle. 

" The guerdon ! the guerdon !" at last said one of the 
vassals, coming forward and throwing himself at the feet of 
Kate. 

"Ha! ha! I forgot," replied she, laughing; "but, turn 
up thy face art thou the man ?" 



" So say my companions, fair leddy," replica ho. " \ 
brocht doon wi' this arm five o' Otterstone's men." 

" With that arm !" replied she ; "and what spirit nerved 
the dead lumber, thinkest thou ?" 

" Bootless, yours, fair leddy," answered he, smiling know- 
ingly ; <' but, though the spirit was borrowed, I'm no the 
less entitled to my reward." 

" A good stickler for the rights of your sex," answered 
she, keeping up the humour; "but what guerdon de- 
mandest thou ?" 

" That whilk knights hae sued in vain for at your fair 
feet," answered the man, smiling, as he uttered nearly the 
words she had used at the battle. 

" Caught in my own snare," replied she, laughing loudly. 

" Ah, Kate, Kate !" said the baron, joining in the humour, 
{C hoo mony gallant barons, and knights, and gentlemen hae 
ye tormented by thae fair lips o' yours, which carry in their 
cunnin words a defence o' themsels sae weel contrived that 
nane daur approach them! Ye're caught at last. Stand 
to yer richts, man. A kiss was promised, ye, and, by the 
honour o' Innerkepple! a kiss ye'll hae, if I should hand her 
head by a grip o' her bonny auburn locks." 

" Hold, hold !" cried Katherine " this matter dependeth 
on the answer to a question. Art thou married, sirrah ?" 

The man hesitated, fearful of being caught by his clever 
adversary. 

" Have a care o' yersel, Gregory," said Innerkepple. 
" Ye're on dangerous ground." 

"What if I am or am not?" said the man, cautiously, 
turning up his eye into the face of the wicked querist. 

" If thou art not," said she, " then would a kiss of so 
fair a damsel be to thee beyond the value of a croft of the 
best land o' the barony o' Innerkepple ; but if thou art, then 
would the guerdon be as nothing to the kiss of thy wife, 
and as the weight of a feather in the scale against an oxen- 
gate of good land." 

' f I'm no married," replied the man ; " but, an't please 
yer Leddyship, I'll tak the oxengate." 

" Audacious varlet !" cried Kate, rejoicing in the adroit- 
ness she exhibited " wouldst thou prefer a piece of earth to 
a kiss of Kate Kennedy a boon which the gayest knights 
of the Borders have sued for in vain ? But, 'tis well thou 
hast refused the guerdon. Ha ! ha ! Men of Innerkepple, 
ye are witnesses to the fact. This man hath spurned my 
guerdon, and sought dull earth for my rosy lips." 

" We are witnesses," cried the retainers ; and the court- 
yard rang with the laugh which the cleverness of their fair 
mistress had elicited from those who envied Gregory of his 
privilege. 

" Kate, Kate !" said the old baron, joining in the laugh, 
" will ever mortal be able to seize what are sae weel guarded? 
I believe ye will be able to argue yer husband oot o' his 
richts o' proving whether thae little traitors be made o' 
mortal flesh or ripe cherries. But wine is better than 
women's lips ; and since Kate has sae cleverly got quit V 
her obligation, I'll male amends by giein ye a surro- 



gatum." 



Several measures of good old wine were served out to the 
men by the hands of Katherine, who rejoiced in the contra- 
diction of refusing one thing to give a better. Her health, 
and that of Innerkepple, were drunk with loud shouts of 
approbation ; and the wassail was kept up till a late hour of 
the night. 

Meanwhile, Otterstone was struggling with his disap- 
pointment, and nourishing a deep spirit of revenge. The 
shame of his defeat, accomplished by a girl, was insuffer- 
able ; and the gnawing pain of the loss of honour and men, 
in a cause where he had calculated securely on crushing his 
supposed enemy, affected him so severely that he sent, it 
was reported, for his son, who had lived from his infancy at 
St Omers, to come over to administer to him consolation. 



TALES OF THE BORDERS 



When Innerkepple heard of these things, he marvelled 
greatly at the stubbornness of his neighbour, whom he 
wished, above all things, to drag, nolenle volente, into a deep 
wassail in the old wainscotted hall of his castle, whereby he 
might drown, with reason itself, all their hereditary grudges, 
and transform a foe into a friend. These feelings were also 
participated in by the warlike Kate, who acknowledged that 
she did not, on that memorable day, fight for anything on 
earth that she knew of, but the safety of her father, and the 
sheer glory of victory. She entertained the best possible 
feelings towards Otterstone, though she admitted, with a 
lailgh, that, if his men had not that day run for their lives, 
she would have fought till they and their lord lay all dead 
upon the field, and the glory of Otterstone was extinguished 
for ever. 

A considerable period that passed in quietness, seemed to 
indicate that the anger of the vanquished baron had escaped 
by the valves appointed by nature for freeing the liver of its 
redundant bile. Meanwhile, Innerkepple's universal love of 
mankind increased, as his friendship for the juice of the grape 
grew stronger and stronger, and his potations waxed deeper 
and deeper ; so that he was represented, all over the Borders, 
as being the most jovial baron of his time. The fame of Kate 
also went abroad like fire-naughts ; but no one knew what 
to make of her whether to set her down as a beautiful 
virago, or as a merry imp of sportive devilry, who fought her 
father's enemy with the same good-will she felt towards the 
lovers whom she delighted with her beauty and gaiety, and 
tormented by her cruel waggeries and wiles. 

This apparent quietness, and the consequent freedom from 
all danger, induced the old baron to comply with a request 
made to him by King James, to lend him forty of his 
followers, to aid in suppressing some disturbances caused 
by a number of outlawed rievers at that time ravaging 
the Borders. Katherine give her consent to the measure ; 
but she wisely exacted the condition that the men should 
not be removed to a greater distance from the castle than 
ten miles. When James' emissary asked her why she ad- 
jected this condition to her father's agreement, she answered, 
with that waggish mystery in which she often loved to 
indulge, that she had such a universal love for his the 
emissary's sex that she could not suffer the idea of her 
gallant men being farther removed from her than the dis- 
tance on which she had condescended. A question for ex- 
planation only produced another wicked quodlibet ; so that 
the royal messenger was obliged to be contented with a 
reason that sounded in his ears very like a contempt of 
royal authority a circumstance for which she cared no 
more than she did for the mute expression of admiration of her 
beauty, that her quick eye detected on the face of the deputy. 
The men having been detached from the castle for the 
service of the King, there remained only a small number, 
Hot more than sufficient for occupying the more important 
stations on the walls of the strength. There was, however, 
no cause for alarm ; and old Innerkepple continued to specu- 
late over his spiced Canary, on his three grand subjects of 
antiquarian research ; while Katherine followed her various 
occupations of listening to and laughing at his reveries 
sewing battle scenes on satin, and killing her knights with 
her needle, in as many grotesque ways as her inventive fancy 
could devise. One day the sound of a horn cut right 
through the middle a long pull of Canary in the act of being 
perfected by the old baron's powers of deglutition ; and, in 
a short time, the warder came into the hall, and said that a 
wine merchant, with sumpter mules and panniers, was at the 
end of the draw bridge, and had expressed a strong desire 
to submit his commodity to the test of such a famous judge 
of the spirit of the grape as the baron of Innerkepple, whose 
name had gone forth as transcending that of all modern 
wine drinkers. 

" A wine merchant !" ejaculated Innerlcepple, smacking 



iis lips after his interrupted draught of vintage '90. " What 
species o' sma potation docs he deal in ? Ha ! ha ! It 
suits my humour to see the quack's een reel, as he finds his 
;ongue and palate glued thegither wi' what I ca' wine, and 
rets them loosed again by his ain coloured water. Shew him 
n, George." 

" Whar is my Leddy, yer Honour?" said the seneschal, 
ooking bluntly. "Will she consent to the drawbridge 
jein raised at a time when the castle's nearly empty ?" 

" She has just gane into the green parlour in the wes 
tower," said the baron. " But I'll tak Kate in my ain 
bands. She likes fun as weel as her auld faither, and 
will laugh to see this quack beaten wi' his ain bowls." 

The seneschal withdrew, though reluctantly, and casting 
liis eyes about for the indispensable Katherine ; but she was 
not within his reach, and he felt himself compelled, by the 
impatience of the old baron, to admit the merchant. The 
creaking hinges of the bridge resounded through the castle, 
and the merchant and his mules were seen by Katherine, 
looking through a loophole, slowly making their way into 
the castle. It was tco late for her now to consider of the 
propriety of the permission to enter ; so she leant her chin 
on her hand, and quietly scanned the stranger, as he crossed 
the bridge, driving his mules before him with a large stick, 
which he brought down with a loud thwack on their backs 
accompanying his act with a loud Whoop, ho ! and occasion- 
ally throwing his eyes over the walls as he proceeded. 

" Whom have we here ?" said she, as she communed with 
herself, and nodded her head, still apparent through the loop- 
hole. " By'r Lady ! neither Gascon nor Fleming, or my 
eyes are no better than my father's, when he looks at antiques 
through the red medium of his vintage of '90. Per- 
chance, a lover come to run away with Kate Kennedy. 
Hey ! the thought tickles my wild wits, and sends me on 
the wings of fancy into the regions of romance. Yet I have 
not read that the catching and carrying off of Tartars hath 
anything to do with the themes of romantic love-errantry. 
I'm witty at the expense of this poor packman ; but, seri- 
ously, Katherine Kennedy must carry off her lover. True 
to the difference that opposes me to the rest of my sex, I 
could not love a man whom I did not vanquish and abduct, 
as a riever does the chattels of the farmer." 

Continuing her gaze, as she laughed at her own strange 
thoughts, she saw the merchant bind his mules to a ring 
fixed in the inside of the wall, and take out of his panniers 
a vessel, with which he proceeded in the direction of the 
door that led to the hall. When the merchant had disap- 
peared, she saw one of the retainers of the castle examining 
intently the mules and their panniers. He looked up and 
caught her eye ; and, placing his finger on his forehead, 
made a sign for her to come down. She obeyed, with her 
usual alacrity, and in a moment was at the side of the re- 
tainer, who, slipping gently under the shade of the castle, 
so as to be out of the view of those within the hall, com- 
municated to the ear of Katherine some intelligence of an 
important nature. The man looked grave ; Kate snapped 
her fingers ; the fire of her eye glanced from the balls like 
the sparks of struck flint, and the expression of her counte- 
nance indicated that she had formed a purpose which she 
gloried in executing. 

" Hark ye, Gregory," said she; " I am still your debtor, 
but I require again your services." And, looking carefully 
around her, she whispered some words into the ear of the 
man ; and, upon receiving his nod of intelligence and assent, 
sprung up the steps that led to the hall. 

The wine merchant was, as she entered, sitting at the 
oaken table, opposite to the old baron, who was holding up 
in his hand a species of glass jug, and looking through it with 
that peculiar expression which is only to be found in the 
face of a luxurious wine-toper in the act of passing sen- 
tence 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



" Wha, in Gods name, are ye, man ?" cried the baron, 
under the cover of whose speech Kate slipped cleverly up 
to the window, and sat down with her cheek resting on her 
hand, in apparent listlessness, but eyeing intently the 
stranger. " I could have wad the picture o' my ancestor, 
Watt o' Flodden, or King Henry's turret, in the east wing 
o' Innerkepple, wi' its twenty bullets, mair precious than 
goold, that there wasna a cup o' vintage '90, in Scotland, 
except what I had mvsel. Whar got ye't, man? Are ye 
the Devil ? Hae ye brocht it frae my ain cellars ? Speak, 
Satan ?" 

" Vy, mon c/ier Innerkeeple," replied the merchant, " did 
I not know that you were one grand biberon I mean drinker 
of vin ? It is known all over the marches I mean the 
Bordures. Aha ! no one Frenchman could cheat the famous 
Innerkeeple ; so I brought the best that vas in all my celliers. 
Is it not grand and magnirique?" 

" Grand an' magnifique, man!" replied Innerkepple, as he 
sipped the wine with the gravity of a judge. "It's mair than 
a' that, man, if my tongue could coin a word to express its 
ain sense o' what it is at this moment enjoying. But the 
organ's stupified wi' sheer delight, and forgets its very 
mither's tongue ; an' nae wonder, for my very een, that 
dinna taste it, reel, and get drunk with the sight." And the 
delighted baron took another pull of the goblet. 

" Aha ! Innerkeeple, you are von of the grandest biberons 
I have ever seen in all this contree," said the merchant. 
" It is one great pleasir to trafique vit von so learned in the 
science of ban gout. That grand smack of your lips would 
tempt me to ruin myself, and drink mine own commodity." 

" Hae ye a stock o' the treasure ?," said the baron ; "I 
canna suppose it." 

' f Just five barrils in my celliers, at Berwick," answered 
the merchant, " containing quatre-hundred pints de Paris, 
in each one of them." 

" I could walk on my bare feet to Berwick, to see it and 
taste it," said the baron ; " but what clatter o' a horse's feet 
is that in the court, Kate ?" 

" Ha ! sure it is my mules," said the Frenchman, starting 
to his feet in alarm. 

'' Oh ! keep your seat, Monsieur Marchand," cried Kate, 
laughing and looking out at the window. " Can a lady not 
dispatch her servitor to Selkirk for a pair of sandals, that 
should this day have been on my feet in place of in Gilbert 
Skinner's hands, without raising folks from their wine ?" 

The Frenchman was satisfied, and retook his seat ; but the 
baron looked at Kate, as if at a loss to know what freak had 
now come into her inventive head. The letting down of 
the drawbridge, and the sound of the horse's feet passing 
along the sounding wood, verified her statement, but carried 
no conviction to the mind of Innerkepple. He had long 
ceased, however, the vain effort, to understand the workings 
rf his daughter's mind ; and on the present occasion he was 
occupied about too important a subject to be interested in 
the vagaries of a mad-cap wench. 

" By the Virgin !" she said, again, " my jennet will lose his 
own sandals in going for mine, if Gregory thus strikes the 
rowels into his sides." 

Covering, by these words, the rapid departure of the 
messenger, she turned her eyes to continue the study of the 
merchant, whom she watched with feline assiduity. The 
conversation was again resumed. 

" Five barrels, said ye, Monsieur ?" resumed Innerkepple. 
" Let me see that, wi' what I hae mysel, may see me out ; 
but it will be a guid heir-loom to Kate's husband. What 
is the price ?" 

" One merk the gallon of four pints de Paris/' answered 
the merchant. 

(" Yet I see no marks of Otterstone about him," muttered 
Kate to herself. " How beautiful he is, maugre his disguise ! 
Had he come on a message of love in place of war, I would 
157 f 



have taken him prisoner, and bound him with the rays of 
lijrht that come from my languishing eyes.") 

'' That's dear, man," said Innerkepple. ' But ye're a c un- 
ning rogue ; if I keep drinking at this rate, the price will 
sink as the flavour rises, and ye'll catch me, as men do gud- 
geons, by the tongue." 

"Aha ! mon cher Innerkeeple," said the merchant, " you 
have von excellent humour of fun about ye. If I vere "not 
un pauvre marchand, I would have one grand plaisir in 
getting inouille I mean drunk vit you." 

(" Ha ! my treacherous Adonis, art on that tack, with a 
foul wind in thy fair face ?" was Kate's mental ejaculation. 
" If thou nearest thy haven, I am a worse pilot than 
Palimirus.") 

" Wi' wine like that before ane," responded the baron, 
" the topers alongside o' ye may be Frenchmen or Dutch- 
men, warriors or warlocks, wraiths or wassailers, merchants 
or mahouns a's alike. It will put a soul into a ghaist, a 
yearning heart into a gowl, and a spirit o' nobility in the 
breast o' ane wha never quartered arms but wi' the fair 
anes o' flesh an.' bluid that belong to his wife. I'll be 
oblivious o' a' warldly things, before Kate's sandals come frae 
Selkirk ; but yer price man, I fear, will stick to me to the 
end." 

" I cannot make one deduction," said the merchant ; " but 
I vill give to the men in the base-court one jolly debauch of 
very good vin, vich is in my hampers." 

(" The kaim of chanticleer is in the wind's eye," muttered 
Katherine. " Thou pointest nobly for the direction of 
treachery ; but my sandals will be back from Selkirk, long 
before I am obliged to march with thee to the prison of 
Otterstone.") 

" Weel, mak it a merk," said Innerkepple, " for five 
pints, an" a bouse to my retainers, wha are as muckle be- 
loved by me as if they were my bairns ; an* I will close 
wi' ye." 

" Veil, that is one covenant inter nous" said the merchant; 
"hot I cannot return to Berwick until demain I mean 
the morrow ; and we vill have the long night for one jolly 
carousal. I will go satis delai, and give the poor fellows, in 
the meantime, one Iretle tasting of the grand cheer." 

(" Then I am too long here," muttered Kate. " Alexander 
told his men that the Persian stream was poisonous, to 
prevent them from stopping to drink, whereby they would 
have fallen into the hands of the enemy. One not less than 
he ha ! ha ! will save her men, by telling them there is 
treachery in the cup.") 

She descended instantly to the base-court, and, passing 
from one guard to another, she whispered in their ears 
certain instructions, which, by the nodding ef their heads, 
they seemed to understand ; while those she had not time to 
visit received from their neighbours the communication at 
second-hand ; and thus, in a short space of time, she prepared 
the whole retainers for the part they were destined to play. 
She had scarcely finished this part of her operations, and got 
out of the court, when the wine merchant made his ap- 
pearance on the steps leading to the hall. He nodded 
pleasantly to the men, and, proceeding to his mules, took out 
of one of the panniers a large vessel filled with wine. This 
he laid on the flag-stones of the base-court, and alongside of 
it he placed a large cup. He then called out to the re- 
tainers to approach, and seemed pleased with the readiness 
with which they complied with his request. 

" Mine very good fellows," said he, "I have sold your 
master, Innerkeeple, one grand quantity of vine ; and he 
says I am under one obligation to treat you vit a hamper, 
for the sake of the grand affection he bears to you. You 
may drink as much as ever you vill please ; and ven this is 
brought to one termination, I vill supply you vit more." 

We're a' under a suitable obligation to ye, sir," replied 
the oldest of the retainers, a sly, pawky Scotchman" and 



6 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



tvinna fail to do credit to the present ye've sae nobly pre- 
sented to us ; but do ye no hear Innerkepple callin for ye 
frae the ha' ? Awa, sir, to the guid baron, and leave us to 
our carouse." 

" Ay," said another ; '' n e'll inform ye when tnis is 
finished." 

" Finished !" said a third ; ic we'll be a' on oor backs be- 
fore we see the end o't." 

" Aha ! excellent jolly troup !" cried the merchant, de- 
lighted with his company. 

The voice of Katherine, who appeared on the steps leading 
to the hall, now arrested their attention. 

" My father waiteth thee in the hall, good merchant," 
said she. 

'" Mon cher leddy," replied he, " I will be there a pre- 
sent." And, looking up to see that she had again disap- 
peared " Drink, my jolly mates," he continued. '' It is 
the grand matiere, the bon stuff, the excellent good liqueur. 
Aha ! you -will be so merry, and you know you have the 
consent of Innerkepple." 

" "We'll be a' as drunk as bats," said he who spoke first, 
with a sly leer. 

"The Deil tak him wha has the beddin o' us!" said 
another. 

" So say I," added half-a-dozen of voices. 

" Then I am the Deil's property," said the warder, " un- 
less I am saved by the power o' the wine ; and, by my faith, 
I'll no spare't." 

*' Aha ! very good ! excellent joke !" cried the delighted 
merchant. " Drink and shame the Diable, as we say in 
France. Wine comes from the gods, and is the grand poison 
of Beelzebub." 

And, after enjoining deep potations, the merchant returned 
to the hall amidst the laughter and pretended applause of 
the men. The moment he had disappeared, Katherine got 
carried to the spot a measure filled with wine and water ; 
and, having emptied in another vessel the contents of the 
merchant's hamper, the thin and innocuous potation was 
poured in to supply its place. The men assisted in the 
operation ; and, all being finished, they began to carouse 
with great glee and jollity. 

" I said, my Leddy, to the merchant, that we would be a' 
as drunk as bats," said one of the humorists ; " and sure this 
is a fair beginning ; for wha could stand drink o' this fearfu 
strength ?" 

'' The Deil tak him wha has the beddin o' us !" said the 
other, laughing, as he drank off a glass of the thin mixture. 

" Then I am the Deil's property," said the warder, " un- 
less I am saved by the power o' this strong drink." 

And thus the men, encouraged by the smiles of Kate, !j 
who was, with great activity, conducting the ceremonies, 
seemed to be getting boisterous on the strength of the 
merchant's wine. Their jokes raised real laughter; and the 
noise of their mirth went up and entered into the hall, ! 
falling like incense on the heart of the merchant. Katherine, 
meanwhile, again betook herself to her station at the hall 
window, using assiduously both her eyes and ears ; the former 
being directed to a dark fir plantation that stood to the left 
of the castle, and the latter occupied by the conversations of 
her father and the merchant. 

" My men," said Innerkepple, " seem to be following the 
example o' their master. They are gettin noisy. I hope, 
Monsieur, ye were moderate in yer present. A castle fu o' 
drunk men is as bad as a headfu o' intoxicated notions." 

(" Hurrah for the French merchant ! Long life to him ! 
May he continue as strong as his liquor !") 

" Aha! the jolly good fellows are feeling the sting of the 
spui" said the merchant, with sparkling eyes. 

" Ungratefu dogs !" rejoined Innerkepple ; " I treat them 
as if they were my sons, and hear hoo they praise a stranger 
for a bellyfu o' wine ! My beer never produced sae nrackle 



froth o' flattery. But this wine o' yours, Monsieur, drowns 
a' my indignation." 

(" Long life to Innerkepple and the fair Katherine !") 

" Now you are getting the grand adulation," said the 
Frenchman. " Ha ! they are a jovial troup of good chaps, 
and deserve one grand potation ; but I gave them only one 
leetle hamper, for fear they should get mouille" 

" Very considerate, Monsieur ; very prudent and kind," 
said the baron ; " for twa-thirds o' my men are fechtin for 
Jamie, and we hae a kittle neebor in Otterstone, whase son 
I hear has come hame frae St Omers. By the by, saw ye 
the callant in France ? They say he's sair ashamed o' the 
defeat o' his faither, by the generalship o' my dochter Kate." 

" Ha ! did mon cher Leddy combattre Otterstone ?" ejacu- 
lated the Frenchman, laughing. ' Very good ! ha ! ha ! 
ha ! I did not know that, ven I sold him one quantity of vin 
yesterday ; but I assure you, mon cher Innerkepple, he is 
not at all your enemy, and his son did praise mon cher Leddv 
as the most magnificent vench in all the contree." 

(" Excellently sustained," muttered Katherine to herself. 
" How I do love the roll of that dark eye, and the curl of 
that lip covered with the black moustache ! Can so much 
beauty conceal a deadly purpose ? But the ' magnificent 
vench' shall earn yet a, better title to the soubriquet out of 
thy discomfiture, fair, deceitful, sweet devil.") 

" I only wish I had Otterstone whar you are, man," said 
Innerkepple, " wi' the liquor as sweet, an' my bile nae 
bitterer. I would conquer him in better style than did my 
dochter, though, I confess, she manoeuvred him beautifully." 

(" Perdition to the faes o' Innerkepple ! and, chief o' them, 
the fause Otterstone, the leddy-licked loon !") 

" Helas ! The master and the men have the very different 
creeds," said the Frenchman, shrugging his shoulders; 
"but my vin is making the bon companions choleric. Ha ! 
ha!" 

("It is it is!" muttered Katherine, as she strained her 
eyes to catch the signal of a white handkerchief, that 
floated on the top of one of the trees in the fir-wood.) 

She now abruptly left the hall, and proceeded to the place 
in the court occupied by those who were wassailing on the 
coloured water she had brewed for them with her fair hands. 
They were busily occupied by the manifestations of their 
mirth, which was not altogether simulated. A cessation of the 
noise evinced the effect of her presence among those who 
deified her. 

" Up with the merry strains, my jolly revellers !" said she, 
smiling ; and immediately, " Bertram the Archer," in loud 
notes, rung in the ballium: 

"And Bertram held aloft the horn, 

Filled wi' the bluid-red wyne ; 
And three times has lie loudly sworn 

His luve he wimia tyne. 

" ' My Anne sits in yon eastern tower, 

An' greets baith day and night, 
An' sorrows for her luver lost, 

An' right turned into might. 
" ' Then hie ye all, my merry men, 

To yonder lordly ha' ! 
An" if they winna ope the gate, 

We'll scale the burly wa'.' 
"' Hurra !' then shouted Bertram's men -, 

And loudly they line sworn, 
That they will right their gallant knight 

Before the opening morn."* 

Under the cover of the noise of the song, which was sung 
with Bacchanalian glee, Katherine communicated her farther 
instructions to the man who had assumed the principal 
direction, and, retreating quickly, lest the wine merchant 
should come out and surprise her, she left the revellers to 
continue their work. She was soon again at her post at the 
window. The boon companions within the hall were still 

* Pinkerton gives only one verse of " Bertram the Archer,' but Inner- 
kcpple's men were more successful antiquaries. 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



busy with their conversation and their -\vine ; and by this 
time the shades of evening had begun to darken the view 
from the castle, and envelope the towers in gloom ; the rooks 
had retired to rest ; the owls had taken up the screech 
note which pains the sensitive ear of night ; and the bats 
were beginning to flap their leathern wings on the rough 
sides of the old walls. 

The sounds of the revellers in the court -yard began 
gradually to die away, and the strains of " Bertram the 
Archer" were limited to a weak repetition of the last lines, 
somewhat curtailed of their legitimate syllables : 

" And we will right our gallant knight 
Before the opening morn." 

These indications of the effect of the wine increased, till, 
by and by, all seemed to be muffled up in silence. The 
circumstance seemed to be noticed at once by the wine 
merchant ; but he took no notice of it to Innerkepple, whom 
he still continued to ply with the rich vintage '90. Kate's 
senses were all on the alert, and she watched every scene of 
the acting drama, set agoing by her own master mind. A 
noise was now heard at the door of the hall, as if some one 
wished to get in, but could not effect an opening. 

" Who's there ?" cried Kate, as she proceeded to open the 
door. 

" It's me, your Leddyship's Honour," answered George, the 
seneschal, as he staggered, apparently in the last stage of 
drunkenness, into the hall. 

" What means this ?" cried Innerkepple, rising up, and not 
very well able to stand himself. " The warder o' my castle 
in that condition, an' a' our lives dependin on his prudence !" 

" Your Honour's maist forgiving pardon," said the warder. 
" I am come here, maist lordly Innerkepple" hiccup '' to 
inform your Highness that a' the men o' the castle are lying 
in the base-court, like swine. I am the only sober man in 
the hail menyie" hie hie. " But whar's the ferly ? The 
strength o' the Frenchman's wine would have floored the 
strongest hensure o' the Borders" hiccup " an' I would hae 
been like the rest, if I hadna been the keeper o' the keys, o' 
Innerkepple." 

(" As well as Roscius, George," muttered Kate, as she, 
vlth a smile, contemplated the actor.) 

" George, George, man," said the baron, " ye're just as bad 
as the rest. You've been owre guid to them, Monsieur ; 
but this mooliness, as ye ca' it, has a' its dangers in time 
times, when castles are surprised an" taen like sleepin 
mawkins in bushes o' broom. Awa to yer bed ahint the 
gratin, man, an' sleep aff the wine, as fast as it is possible 
for a drunk man to do." 

George bowed, and staggered out of the hall, to betake 
himself to his couch. 

" Aha ! this is one sad misadventure," said the merchant. 
; <I did not know there vas half so much strength in this 
vine. Let us see the jolly topers, mon noble Innerkepple. 
It is one grand vision to a vendeur of good vin to see the 
biberons lying on the ground, all mou'dle. Ilelas ! I vas 
very wrong ; but, mon noble baron will forgive the grand 
fault of liberality." 

The merchant rose, and, giving his arm to Innerkepple ; 
who had some difficulty in steadying himself, proceeded 
towards the court, where they saw verified the report of the 
warder. The men were lying about the yard, apparently in a 
state of perfect insensibility. The wine measure was empty 
and overturned ; several drinking horns lay scattered around ; 
and everything betokened a deep debauch. 

'' This maun hae been potent liquor," said the baron, 
taking up one of the cups, in which a few drops remained, 
and drinking it. " Ha ! man, puir gear after a A man 
micht drink three gallons o't, and dance to the tune o' Gil- 
quhisker after he has finished. What's the meaning o' this r" 

" Aha ! your tongue is mouiltt, mon noble Innerkepple," 
eaid the merchant. 



" It may be sae," replied the baron ; " but it wasna made 
mooly, as ye denominate it, by drink like that. I canna 
understand it, Monsieur." 

As he stood musing on the strange circumstance, he 
caught the eye of Kate at the window, and felt his stupe- 
faction and bewilderment increased by a leer in that dark 
bewitching orb, whose language appeared to him often and 
never more so than at present like Greek. His attention 
was next claimed by the merchant, who proposed that the 
men should be allowed to sleep out their inebriety where 
they lay. This proposition was reasonable ; and it would, 
besides, operate as a proper punishment for their exceeding 
the limits of that prudence which their duty to their master 
required them to observe. The baron agreed to it, and, 
seeking again the support of the Frenchman's arm, he re- 
turned to the hall. 

The night was now fast closing in. An old female 
domestic had placed lamps in the hall, and some supper was 
served up to the baron and the merchant. Kate retired, as 
she said, to her couch ; but it may be surmised that an 
antechamber received her fair person, where she had some- 
thing else to do than to sleep. The loud snoring of the 
men in the courtyard was heard distinctly, mixing with the 
screams of the owls that perched on the turrets. The two 
biberons sat down to partake of the supper, and prepare 
their stomachs, as Innerkepple said, for another bouse of 
the grand liquor. The conduct of the two carousers now 
assumed aspects very different from each other. The baron 
was gradually getting more easy and comfortable, while the 
merchant displayed an extreme restlessness and anxiety. 
The praises of his wine fell dead upon his ear, and the jokes 
of the good Innerkepple seemed to have become vapid and 
tiresome to him. 

" That's a grand chorus in the court-yard, Monsieur," said 
the baron. " Singing, snoring, groaning, are the three sue 
cessive acts o' the wassailers. They would have been better 
engaged eating their supper. Yah ! I'm gettin sleepy, 
Monsieur." 

" Helas ! helas !" ejaculated the merchant. " You prick 
my memory, mon noble Innerkeeple. My poor mules ! 
They have got no souper. Ah ! cruel master that I am to 
forget the pauvre animals that have got no language to tell 
th ir wants." 

(" So, so the time approaches," ejaculated Kate, ment- 
ally, as she watched behind the door.) 

" Pardon me, mon cher baron," he continued, " I vill go 
and give them one leetle feed, and return to you a present. 
I have got beans in my hampers." 

" Humanity needs nae pardon, man," replied the baron, 
nodding with 'sleep. "Awa and feed the puir creatures; 
but tak care an' no tramp on an' kill ony o' my brave men 
in yer effort to save the lives o' yer mules." 

" Never fear," said the other, taking from his pocket a 
small lantern, which he lighted. " Travellers stand in grand 
need of this machine," he continued. " I will return on the 
instant-" 

He now left the baron to his sleep, and crept stealthily 
along the passage to the door leading to the court. He was 
followed, unseen, by Katherine, who watched every motion. 
He felt some difficulty in avoiding the men, who still lay on 
the ground ; but with careful steps he reached the wall, and 
suddenly sprung on the parapet. 

" Prepare !" whispered Katherine into the ears of the 
prostrate retainers ; " the time approaches." 

While thus engaged, she kept her eye upon the dark 
shadow of the merchant, and saw with surprise a blue light 
flash up from the top of the wall, and throw its ominous 
glare on the surrounding objects. A scream of the birds 01 
the castle walls announced their wonder at the stran 
vision, and Katherine concluded that the merchant had t 
produced his signal from some phosphorescent mixl 



8 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



ivliich he had ignited by the aid of the lantern. The light 
ivas followed instantly by a shrill blast of a horn. SVith a 
bound he reached the floor of the court, and, hastening to the 
warder's post, threw off the guard of the wheel, and, with all 
the art and rapidity of a seneschal, prepared for letting down 
the bridge. All was still as death ; there seemed to be no 
interruption to his proceedings ; but he started as he saw the 
rays of a lamp thrown from a loophole over his head, upon 
that part of the moat which the bridge covered. He had 
gone too far to recede ; the creaking of the hinges grated, 
and down came the bridge with a hollow sound. A 
rush was now heard as of a body of men pressing 
forward to take possession of the passage ; and tramp, 
tramp came the sounds of the marching invaders over the 
hollow-sounding wood. All was still silent within the 
castle, and the sound of the procession continued. In an 
instant, a dense, dark body issued from the fir -wood, and 
rushed with heavy impetuous force on the rear of the corps 
that were passing into the castle ; and, simultaneously with 
that movement, the whole body of the men within the 'castle 
pressed forward to the end of the bridge, and met the front 
of the intruders, who were thus hedged in by two forces, 
that had taken them by surprise, in both front and rear. 

" Caught in our own snare !" cried the voice of old Otter- 
stone. 

" Disarm them," sounded shrilly from the lips of Katherine 
Kennedy. 

And a scuffle of wrestling men sent its fearful, death-like 
sound through the dark ballium. The strife was short and 
comparatively silent. The men who had rushed from the 
wood, and who were no other than the absent retainers of 
Innerkepple, coming from behind, and those within the 
strength meeting them in front, produced such an alarm in 
the enclosed troops, that the arms were taken from their 
hands as if they had been struck with palsy- Every two 
men seized their prisoner, while some holding burning 
torches came running forward, to shew the revengeful baron 
the full extent of his shame. Ranged along the court, the 
spectacle presented by the prisoners was striking and gro- 
tesque. Their eyes sought in surprise the form of a female, 
who, with a sword in one hand and a torch in the other, 
stood in front of them, as the genius of their misfortune. 

The hall door was now opened, where the old baron still 
sat sound asleep in his chair, unconscious of all these pro- 
ceedings. The prisoners were led into the spacious apart- 
ment, and ranged along the sides in long ranks. Innerkepple 
rubbed his eyes, stared, rubbed them again, and seemed 
lost in perfect bewilderment. All was conducted in dumb 
show. The proud and revengeful Otterstone was placed 
alongside of the good baron, his enemy ; and Kate smiled 
as she contemplated the strange looks which the two rivals 
threw upon each other. 

" Right happy am I," said Katherine, coming forward in 
the midst of the assembly, " to meet my good friends, the 
noble Otterstone and his men, in my father's hall, under the 
auspices of a healing friendship. Father, I offer thee the 
hand of Otterstone. Otterstone, I offer thee the hand of 
Innerkepple. Ye have long been separated by strife and 
war, though, on the one side, there was always a good feel- 
ing of generous kindliness, opposed to a bitterness that had 
no cause, and a revenge that knew no excuse. Born nobles 
and neighbours, educated civilized men, and baptized Christ- 
ians, why should ye be foes? but, above all, why should 
the one strike with the sword of war the hand that has 
held out to him the wine-cup ? My father has ever been 
thy friend, noble Otterstone, and thou hast ever been his 
foe. How is this ? Ah ! I know it. Thou wert ignorant, 
noble guest, of my good father's generous and friendly feel- 
ings, and I have taken this opportunity of introducing ye to 
each other, that ye may mutually come to the knowledge of 
each other's better qualities and intentions." 



" What, in the name o' heaven, means a' this, Kate ?" 
ejaculated Innerkepple, in still unsubdued amazement. 
" Am I dreamin, or am I betrayed ? Whar is the wine 
merchant ? Hoo cam ye here, Otterstone ? Am I a prisoner 
in my ain castle, and my ain men and dochter laughing at 
iny misfortune ? But ye spoke o' friendship, Kate. Is it 
possible, Otterstone, ye hue repented o' yer ill-will, and 
come to mak amends for past grievances ?" 

" Thou hast heard him, Otterstone," said Kate. " Wilt 
thou still refuse the hand ?" 

The chief hesitated ; but the good-humoured looks of 
Innerkepple melted him, and he held out the right hand of 
good-fellowship to the old baron, who seized it cordially and 
shook it heartily. 

" Now," said Kate, " we must seal this friendship with 
a cup of wine. Bring in the wine merchant." 

The Frenchman was produced by the warder, along with 
the remaining hampers of the wine that had been left in the 
court-yard. As may have been already surmised, he was no 
other than the son of old Otterstone. Surprised and con- 
founded by all these proceedings, he stood in the midst of the 
company, looking first at his father, and then at Innerkepple, 
without forgetting Kate, who stood like a majestic queen, 
enjoying the triumph of her spirit and ingenuity. Above 
all things, he wondered at the smile of good humour in the 
face of his father ; and his surprise knew no bounds when 
he saw every one around as well pleased as if they had been 
convened for the ends of friendship. 

"Hector," said old Otterstone, looking at his son, " the 
game is up. This maiden lias outwitted us, and we are 
caught in our own snare. Off with thy disguise, and shew 
this noble damsel that thou art worthy of her best smiles." 

Hector obeyed, and took off his wig, and the clumsy habi- 
liments that covered his armour, and stood in the midst of 
the assembly, a young man of exquisite beauty. 

' The wine merchant, Hector Fotheringham !" cried 
Innerkepple. " Ah, Kate, Kate ! is this the way ye bring 
yer lovers to Innerkepple ha' ? in the shape o' a wine 
merchant the only form o' the Deevil I wad like to see on 
this earth ? Ha ! ye baggage, weel do ye ken hoo to get at 
the heart o' yer faither. But whar was the use o' secrecy, 
woman ? And you, Hector, man, 1 needed nae bribe o' 
Tokay to be friendly to the lover o' my dochter. A fine 
youth a fine youth. Surely, surely, this man was made 
for my dochter Kate," 

"And thy daughter, Kate, was made for him," cried 
Otterstone. 

The retainers of both houses shouted applause, and the 
hall rang with the noise. The wine, which was intended 
for deception and treachery, was circulated freely, and 
opened the hearts of the company. Innerkepple was ready 
again foriiis Tokay, and, lifting a large goblet to his head 

" To the union o' the twa hooses !" cried he. " And 1 
wish I had twenty dochters, and Otterstone as mony sons, 
that they micht a' be married thegither ; but, on this con- 
dition, that the bridegrooms should a' come in the shape o' 
wine merchants." 

" Hurra, hurra !" shouted the retainers. The night was 
spent in good humour and revelry. All was restored ; and, 
in a short time, the two houses were united by the marriage 
of Hector Fotheringham and Katherine Kennedy- 




WILSON'S 



TALES OF THE BORDERS, 



AND OF SCOTLAND. 



THE PROVOST OF STARVIESTON. 

IN no place was the general joy that pervaded the kingdom 
at the Restoration more sincerely felt, or at least more 
loyally expressed, than in the little burgh town of Star- 
vieston in the west of Scotland. On that occasion, the 
worthy Provost of the town, David Clapperton, proposed 
in council that a dutiful address should be forthwith pre- 
pared and sent up to his Majesty, congratulating him on 
the happy event, and pledging the faith and loyalty of the 
ancient burgh of Starvieston for all occasions and in all 
time coming. 

" A guid move, Provost, a guid move," replied Bailie 
Snodgrass, to this loyal proposition of the chief magistrate ; 
' ' and I most cordially second it. But, dinna ye think we 
could slip in, at the same time, a word or twa aboot the 
charter anent the superiority o' the lands o' Tullywhustle 
that was promised us by his present Majesty's faither ? I 
think this a guid opportunity for gettin a haud o' some- 
thing or ither ; and I dinna ken o' onything that wad be 
mair beneficial to the burgh than gettin a grant o' that 
superiority." 

All the members of council, including the Provost, agreed 
that Bailie Snodgrass' suggestion was a prudent one, and 
shewed a praiseworthy concern for the interests ot the 
burgh ; but it was also agreed that, on the whole, such a 
request might not be thought a very graceful appendage to 
an address which affected to be one merely of congratu- 
lation, and to express sentiments only of loyalty and de- 
votion. This being the general opinion of the council, it 
was resolved that Bailie Snodgrass' motion should be 
allowed to lie in abeyance in the meantime, and that such an 
address as was originally proposed, one entirely free from 
all solicitations for favours, should be immediately prepared 
and transmitted to St James'. Having come to this reso- 
lution in this important matter, the town-council of Star- 
vieston broke up; a circumstance which affords us an 
opportunity of speaking more fully of its chief member, 
Provost Clapperton, the only one of the august body 
alluded to with whom we have anything particular to do. 

Provost Clapperton, or, simply, Davy Clapperton, as he 
was most irreverently called by the vulgar rabble of the 
town over whose affairs he presided with such credit to 
himself and such benefit to the public interest, was to 
business a hosier ; and in this business he had waxed rich. 
The Provost was reckoned worth a good round sum. In 
personal appearance and manner, the worthy Provost was 
not naturally particularly dignified. He was short, broad, 
and rather corpulent. Easy circumstances, and an easy 
mind, had contributed, each in their several ways, to impart 
to his figure a certain rotundity in front which looked fully 
more comfortable than graceful. The Provost, at this time, 
might be about fifty-five. In disposition, our worthy magis- 
trate was kind, humane, and affable. He spoke to every- 
body with the utmost familiarity, and, we may add, with 
great volubility. This last, in truth, was one of the worthy 
man's failings. He talked a vast deal. more than was neces- 
sary, and a great deal more, sometimes, than was under- 
stood, as he spoke both very thick and very fast, and had, 
158. Vor^ IV. 



moreover, a habit of repeating his words, which formed a 
large addition to the amount of matter he delivered, without 
conveying an iota of additional sentiment along with it. 

The Provost, in short, was a lively, pert, good-natured, 
bustling little body, with a reasonably high opinion of his 
own importance, and, most especially, of the dignity of the 
office which he filled. If, however, any one should associate 
with the occupant of this office any aristocratic notions of 
gentility, birth, education, or accomplishments, they would 
be sadly out in the case of Mr Clapperton, who was, in 
truth, just as homespun a provost as you might readily 
meet with anywhere. The worthy magistrate had had 
little or no education. His birth was as humble as could 
well be ; and, as to gentility and accomplishments, we verily 
believe he did not know what the words meant. At any 
rate, he had none of them, and never dreamt of pretending 
to them. Plain in his habits ; plain, although subtantial, in 
his living ; plain in his manners ; and plain in his dress all 
proceeding from a natural homeliness and simplicity of cha- 
racter Provost Clapperton exhibited no outward indi- 
cations of his greatness ; but, on the contrary, looked fully 
as like a chief butler as a chief magistrate. 

Having thus described, as well as we can, the person, 
manners, dispositions, &c., of our worthy civic dignitary, we 
revert to the circumstance with which our story opened 
namely, his proposal of an address of congratulation to his 
Majesty, Charles II., on the occasion of his restoration to 
the throne of his ancestors. Now, with regard to this 
address, we will not say that the idea of getting up such a 
thing was not one proceeding from the genuine feelings 
of Provost Clapperton's heart, from his affection to his 
sovereign, and from a sincere joy at his once more filling 
the regal chair ; but it is certain that it accorded marvel- 
lously with certain views on a certain subject, entertained 
by no less a personage than his wife that is to say, it 
accorded so far with these views as to promise being a 
likely means of their accomplishment. But this affair will 
be best explained by quoting a conversation which tooJ< 
place between the worthy Provost and his better half, as 
they sat together and alone, one night, by the fire, talking 
over various domestic and other matters, previous to retiring 
to bed. It occurred some two cr three days before the 
Provost made the celebrated proposition in council, to which 
we have already more than once alluded. 

" Davy, man," said Mrs Clapperton, if ye had been 
worth yer lugs, ye micht hae dune something for the honour 
o' the family, since ye war made a provost. Ye micht hae 
made me a leddy, Davy. Noo, yer time 'ill sune be oot, 
and a' yer glory 'ill pass awa like the last flicker o' a fardin 
caunle." 

" What do ye mean, guidwife ? what do ye mean ? what 
do ye mean ?" inquired her husband, speaking in his usual 
rapid way, and really in want of the light he asked for. 

" I mean, Davy, that ye micht hae got yersel made a 
knicht if ye had been half clever," replied Mrs Clapperton. 
" There's been twa provosts o' this burgh knichted, and deil 
a ane can tell for what; for they never did onything in 
their lives that was fairly worth thrippence for either kirk 
or state, unless it was gaun up to Lunnun wi' a screed o 
loyalty and zeal in their pouches, frae the toon, whilk they 



10 



TALES OF THE BORDERS 



cued an address, to our late king, Clailes I., whan he was 
in his diffeeculties, puir man ! Confound a filing ^ else 
they ever did ; for they war baith feckless bodies, wi' nae 
mair gumption in them than's in an oyster." 

During the delivery of this speech, which he neither by 
word nor deed attempted to interrupt, the Provost kept 
looking steadily at the fire, and twirling his thumbs round 
each other. He was thinking profoundly; and that, too, on 
ideas suggested by and in accordance with his wife's re- 
marks. The notion of aspiring to knighthood had never 
struck him before ; but now that it was presented to him, 
it excited the stirrings of ambition within him, and ap- 
peared before his mind's eye of a very engaging and comely 
aspect. But how was it to be obtained ? There was the 
difficulty. The worthy Provost felt that he had never done 
anything to warrant him in aspiring to so high an honour, 
and he felt, moreover, that he, in all likelihood, never would 
or could do anything to deserve it ; and it was under this 
feeling that he at length spoke, premising with an affected 
undervaluing of his fitness to be invested with such a 
dignity : 

" Mak a knicht o' me, Peggy !" he said. " Mak a knicht 
o' a dealer in stockins and comforters ! a dealer in stockins 
and comforters ! I doot that wad be considered rather de- 
gradin to the order degradin to the order, Peggy." 

"And what for suld it, Davy?" replied his ambitious 
spouse. " What for no mak you a knicht as weel as blin' 
Tammy Craig, the haberdasher, \vha was Provost o' Star- 
vieston in the year o' God saxteen thretty-aught, or doited 
Archy Manderston, the cheesemonger, wha was provost in 
forty-twa ? I'm sure such a pair as thae war to mak knichts 
o' never was seen and yet knichts they war made. Gude 
save the mark!" 

" Ay, but, guidwife, they did something for the honour 
did something for the honour. Mind that mind that, guid- 
wife." 

"Did something for the honour!" repeated Mrs Clap. 

Serton, in a tone of the utmost contempt. " What did they 
o, but gang up to Lunnun, as I said before, wi' a screed o' 
loyalty in their pouches ? Deil a thing else either o' them 
ever did that was worth a sheep's trotter." 

"But even that, guidwife, even that," replied the 
Provost, who seemed to state objections merely to have 
them obviated, <( I hae nae opportunity o' doin. There's 
nae ca' 'enow for addresses to the throne nae ca' 'enow 



nae ca enow. 



" Nae ca' !" repeated Mrs Clapperton f ' I just think there 
never was a better the King's restoration. Get ye up, 
Davy, an' ye tak my advice, a palaver aboot the joy an' 
satisfaction o' the magistrates an' inhabitants at large o' 
Starvieston, at the restoration o' his most gracious Majesty 
to the throne, an' get ye the carryin o't up to Lunnun an' 
the thing's dune. Ye'll come doon a knicht as sure's your 
name's Davy Clapperton." 

"No a bad notion, guidwife," said the Provost "HO a 
bad notion. I wadna care to try't, after a' ; for it wad be 
a decent, respectable thing a decent, respectable thing. 
But me a knicht ! It wad be queer it wad be queer !" 
And the worthy magistrate chuckled at the idea of his 
transformation into a character so dignified. 

We do not suppose it necessary to prolong this discourse, 
to shew the connection between it and Provost Clapperton's 
proposition in council, of a congratulatory address to the 
King. This, we presume, will appear sufficiently evident 
from what we have already given ; and it will appear still 
more evident, when we mention that the proposition in 
question was made the very day after the colloquy just 
quoted took place. 

The address proposed by the Provost was accordingly 
drawn up. It was written by Archy Morton, the town 
clerk, who was reckoned, in Bailie Snodgrass' phrase. 



just an extraordinar fist at the pen ; his quill gaun soopin 
owre the paper, like a scythe through clover, an' the words 
comin doon as fast an' thick as groats oot o' a mill." Such, 
then, was the redoubted penman who drew up the address 
in question, and which ran as follows. ( We give it as a 
curious specimen of the style then in use in such matters-) 
After a preliminary flourish of titles, that would of them, 
selves occupy half of one of our columns, this precious docu- 
ment proceeded : "We, the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and 
Council of Starvieston, on our own parts, and on that of the 
loyal inhabitants of this burgh, with great contentment and 
joy of the heart, beg to kneel at the footstool of your most 
dread Majesty, to impart to your Highness the unspeakable 
delectation with which your Majesty's happy restoration to 
the throne of these realms has filled us, and for which we 
would gladly testify, by what means we can, our thankful- 
ness and joy. That your Majesty, who is to us as a crown of 
rejoicing, as the breath of our nostrils, may long reign over 
us, we humbly pray, and that it continue till it be brought 
to a full and blessed conclusion ; being willing, on our part, 
to contribute what lieth in our power, by our earnest care 
and best endeavours," &c. &c. 

Such, then, was the address penned by Archy Morton, 
town-clerk of Starvieston, on which rested Provost Clapper- 
ton's hope of knighthood. The document being prepared 
and ready, the next question with the council was, how it 
was to be conveyed to his Majesty ; and on this subject there 
was some pretty smart debate in the council- room some 
proposing one way, and some another ; but it having been 
soon discovered, from certain hints which he threw out, 
that the Provost had an eye to the job, it was at once con- 
ceded to him, and a day forthwith fixed for his departure 
on his loyal mission to St James'. 

On the Provost's returning home from the meeting which 
had decided that he was to be the bearer of the congratu- 
latory address " Weel, guidwife weel, guidwife," he 
said, "it's a' settled noo, an' I'm aff to Lunnun the day 
after the morn. But, to tell ye a truth, I'm no very clear 
o' the job, after a' no very clear o' the job, after a' noo 
that it's come to a point ; for I'm no just sae weel acquaint 
wi' your court tricks an' fashions, an' I may mak a fule o' 
mysel I may mak a fule o' mysel. I'm tell't there's an 
unco paveein, an' scrapin, an' booin aboot thae sort o'' 
places an unco paveein, an' scrapin, an' booin. Noo, I 
never had ony mair practice in that way, in my life, than 
just giein a bit nod to a customer frae behint the counter 
just a bit nod frae behint the counter." 

" Tuts, man," replied Mrs Clapperton, " thae's but sma 
matters to concern ye. Ye'll do as weel's the lave, nae 
doot. Just do as ye see ithers doin, an' ye canna gang far 
wrang. But ye micht practeese a wee before ye gaed. 
Let me see ye mak a boo, Davy. I mind hoo the laddies 
used to do't at Mr Langlegs' dancin schule, whan I was a 
gilpie o' saxteen ; an' I'll tell ye if ye be richt." 

Approving of his wife's suggestion, the worthy magistrate 
forthwith perpetrated a u boo," or at least what was in- 
tended for one although there was very little trace of such 
a thing in the strange uncouth motion he made. 

" Very weel, Davy very weel, my man," said his wife, 
marking, with amiable and laudable satisfaction, her hus- 
band's efforts to " snatch a grace beyond the reach of art." 
" But could ye no bend yersel a wee thing mair, think ye ? 
Ye hae dune't a wee owre stiffly." 

"^I'll try't, Peggy I'll try't -I'll try't," replied the 
anxious and willing pupil. and he essayed another obeisance; 
but, as his bodily condition forbade more than the very 
slightest possible departure from the perpendicular, we 
cannot say that he was much more successful in accom- 
plishing the inclination desired by his wife, than in the 
first instance, although he certainly made the attempt, as 
was sufficiently obvious from the sudden and excessive 



TALES OF THE BORDEKS 



rsciness that overspread his countenance. The Provost's 
performances, on the whole, however, were pronounced 
very passable, by his judge ; and, with a recommendation to 
him, to be "booin" whenever opportunity occurred, the 
worthy pair proceeded to other matters connected with the 
Provost's impending journey. 

<f Noo, ye maun gang like yersel, Davy," said Mrs 
Ciapperton, thus opening the new department of the dis- 
cussion. " Ye maun gang respectable decent and respect- 
able in everything, as becomes yer means, and yer station, 
and yer expectations. Ye maun tak John Yuill, to ride 
behint ye wi' yer saddle-bags and yer ither spare gear ; 
and ye maun get a pair o' new boots and spurs, and a 
cocked hat, and an embroidered waistcoat, and a' ither 
things apperteenin thereto." 

u Ou, surely, surely, guidwife surely," replied the 
Provost. " We maun mak a decent appearance before 
Majesty a decent appearance, for the credit o' the burgh 
for the credit o' the burgh. Sae, see ye, guidwife, to be 
gettin a' things ready a' things ready ; and busk oot John 
Yuill as weel as ye can, and see and mak him look some- 
thing Christian like, although I doot that'll waur ye, guid- 
wife that'll waur ye." 

And, in good truth, well might the Provost say, or 
imply rather, perhaps, that to impart to John Yuill the 
exterior of a civilised being was a matter beyond the reach 
of his wife's ingenuity ; for such another coarse, unculti- 
vated specimen of the human race as Johnny Yuill, could 
not readily be found even by the most assiduous inquirer 
after such living curiosities. 

Johnny was a dependent of the Provost's, and was usually 
spoken of as the "Provost's man." His duties in this capacity 
were various : sometimes acting as porter in the shop ; 
sometimes taking a day of the plough, or doing other farm 
work on a small property of the Provost's ; sometimes walk- 
ing in procession before his Lordship, as a halberdier, in the 
fringed and party-coloured coat, flaming red waistcoat, and 
cocked hat, which was the livery of the toiiru of Starvieston 
an appointment this into which he had been introduced 
through the Provost's influence. In person, Johnny was 
tall and gaunt the direct antipodes of his master broad- 
shouldered and stalwarth, and of great bodily power ; but 
without a corresponding energy or activity. Uncouth and 
ungainly in appearance, rough and blunt in speech, forward 
through ignorance, without one single idea beyond those 
suggested by his immediate duties, and wholly illiterate 
and uninformed, Johnny Yuill will be allowed to have been, 
altogether, a most fit and desirable companion on a journey 
of some four or five hundred miles. But, in the present 
case, the association was not altogether so discordant as 
might be imagined ; since, neither in intellectual capacity 
nor in acquired knowledge, was the difference between 
master and man by any means so very great as to unfit 
them altogether for each other's society. On the contrary, 
they were like to put up remarkably well with each other 
on their journey. The more so, that, notwithstanding the 
difference of their positions, and the mighty distance be- 
tween the several grades to which they belonged, they had 
always been so perfectly familiar in their intercourse that, 
had not a distinction of dress pointed it out, it would have 
been impossible for a stranger to tell which was the master 
and which the man. The Provost spoke to Johnny in all 
respects as if he had been his equal, and Johnny spoke to 
the Provost with precisely the same utter disregard of all 
distinctions of rank ; and this friendly familiarity, it was 
not doubted, would distinguish all their intercourse during 
their travels and absence from home. 

All proposed and necessary preparations having been 
made for her husband's departure, by the active, stirring, 
indefatigable Mrs Ciapperton, the morning fixed on for the 
latter event found Johnny Yuill standing at the Provost's 



11 

door, at an early hour, holding two saddled horses by the 
bridle. The one was for the Provost ; the other, loaded with 
an enormous and well-stuffed pair of saddle-bags, was for 
Johnny himself. In a few minutes after, out came the 
Provost, with a huge cocked hat on his head, a pair of boots 
that came half-way up his thigh, on his legs, a silver- 
mounted whip in his hand, a sword by his side, and, around 
all, including his own respected person, an ample brown 
cloak of French cloth. The Provost mounted ; and his 
example being immediately followed by his man, the two 
started, cheek by jowl for neither of them had any idea 
of marking their respective ranks by distance at a gentle 
jog-trot pace, on their journey to the metropolis ; and a more 
odd-looking or more original pair certainly never went 
in quest of knighthood. 

On clearing the town, and getting a little familiarized 
with their seats, neither of them being very splendid eques- 
trians, Johnny opened a conversation, to which the meek 
temperaments of their steeds both heavy, dull, ungainly, 
hairy-heeled brutes offered every facility. 

" Weel, this is a graunbusiness we're gaun upon, Provost," 
quoth Johnny. " Wha'll haud their heads higher than us 
whan we come doon ? My faith ! we'll keep the cantle o' 
the caussey then, I think, Provost." 

" We aye did that, Johnny, man we aye did that ; we 
Avar aye able to do that aye able to do that," replied the 
chief magistrate of Starvieston, chuckling good-humouredly. 

" Ay, but there'll be a differ then. Whan ye come doo'n, 
ye'll come doon a gentleman ; and ye're 'enow but a hosier, 
Provost though ye be. But, I say, Provost," continued 
Johnny, " can ye tell me hoo the King manages to mak 
gentlemen oot o' plain folk like you and me ? Hoo's the 
thing dune, I wad like to ken ? It strikes me that he wad 
need to put them through a mill, and bake them up again. 
I'm sure it wad bother him to mak a gentleman o' me, 
if he should tak it in his head to try't ; and there's nae 
sayin what he may do whan he sees me alang wi' ye." 

With such conversation they beguiled the way. On 
reaching the city, our original pair of travellers repaired 
to the Lion and Unicorn, at that time one of the most 
respectable inns in London, and to which the Provost 
had been recommended by the town-clerk of Starvieston, 
who had put up there on some occasion of his visiting 
the metropolis, and who always spoke in raptures of the 
bacon and beans he used to have there for dinner this 
being one of the dishes for which the house was most cele- 
brated, and a great favourite with the town-clerk, who had 
some tolerably correct notions on the subject of good living. 
On arriving at the Lion and Unicorn, the Provost and his 
man were shewn into a parlour the same parlour ; for, as 
they seemed to make no distinction of rank themselves 
between each other, none was made between them by 
others. 

" Lassie," said the Provost, addressing the girl who had 
ushered them into the apartment above alluded to, and just 
as she was about to retire, after having performed this duty, 
" hae ye such a thing in the hoose as Lunnun porter ?" 

The girl looked with some surprise in the worthy magis- 
trate's face, to ascertain whether he was in jest or earnest, 
in making an inquiry to which he ought to have been so 
certain of an affirmative ,- and, perceiving that he was to all 
appearance in the latter, as, indeed, he really was, having 
put the question oblivious of his being in London 

" Why, to be sure, sir," she said, " we have. It would 
be a very odd thing, indeed, if we hadn't." 

" Aweel, maybe, lassie," relied the Provost. " Bring us 
a bottle, then." 

" Bring twa," here interrupted Johnny Yuill, in a loud 
voice ; " for I'm dooms dry, and '11 sen' owre a bottle to my 
ain share at a waucht, and I'm sure ye'll manage the ither 
yersel. Provost ; and, if ye canna, I'll help ye wi' that too." 



12 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



" Weel, weel, since Johnny's sac dry, bring twa bottles, 
lassie bring twa bottles," said the Provost. 

" We don't bottle our po'ter, sir," replied the girl. 
" No ! what then do ye \vi't ? what then do ye wi't ?" 
inquired the Provost, a little puzzled. 

" All draught, sir," said the girl. " All in draught." 

" Draught ? draught ? What's that ? what's that, lassie ?" 
said the Provost, still more perplexed. 

" In the cask, sir," replied the girl. 

" Ou, ay, ou, ay," rejoined the Provost, now somewhat 
more enlightened on the subject. " Aweel, aweel ; in 
Gude's name, bring it ony way ye like, lassie ony way ye 
like ; but bring't fast, for I'm as dry's a whustle. I'm just 
gaizenin." 

A mutual understanding having been come to on this 
important matter, the desiderated beverage was produced, 
and, in due time, discussed, when the Provost bethought him 
of ordering some supper for himself and his man they still 
continuing, and intending to occupy the same premises 
and for this purpose rang the bell. It was answered by 
the same girl who had conducted the porter discussion. On 
her appearance 

" We want a bit chack o' supper, my dear a bit chack 
o' supper, a bit chack o' supper," said the Provost. 

The girl appeared at a loss. She had made out supper 
distinctly enough ; but " bit chack o' " puzzled her sadly ; 
and, thinking it expressed some distinguishing quality of the 
supper wanted, she aimed at getting a translation, by saying 

" Chacko, sir ? chacko ? I don't know what that means. 
We have nothing of that kind in the house, sir ; but we 
have great variety of other excellent dishes. We have 
roast lamb, veal pie, roast beef, roast mutton, roast fowls, 
and salmon ; but no chacko, sir." 

" Tuts, tuts, lassie ! tuts, tuts !" said the Provost, 
laughing, and now seeing how the land lay. " I see ye 
dinna understand oor Scotch way o' speakin. We want, 
in plain English, just a bit supper, just a bit supper." 

" Oh !" replied the girl, blushing and smiling at once, 
"just so, sir. Well, what should you like to have, sir?" 

" Ou, just a bit salmon just a bit salmon, my dear or 
ony bit thing o' that kind," replied the Provost. 

The girl made a slight courtesy, and retired ; but, in a 
minute afterwards, returned, and said 

" My master, sir, has desired me to say, that, as you are 
from Scotland, you are not, perhaps, aware of the price of 
salmon in London, and may be under a mistake about 
it." 

" And what is the price o' salmon in Lunnun, my dear ? 
What is the price o't? what is the price o't?" said the 
Provost. 

" Three guineas a-pound, sir," replied the girl. 

Both the Provost and his man held up their hands in 
mute astonishment at the astounding enormity of the price. 
At length 

" Three guineas the pun' !" came the Provost out with, 
when he got breath to express himself. 

" Three guineas the pun' !" repeated Johnny Yuill, in the 
same tone of overwhelming surprise. "God preserve us! 
was the like o' that ever heard tell o'? Saumont three 
guineas the pun' ! That's nearly wecht for wecht. Goold 
against fish. It's awfu. Lassie, whan we left Starvieston, 
saumont was just a groat the pun' o' twenty-twa unces 
just a groat the pun' ; and ye micht hae got ten cart-load 
o't at that. I wish to guidness I had brocht twa or three 
o' them slung at my back. I could hae dune't fine." 

Here the Provost interfered, saying that, since salmon 
was out of the question at that price, they would "just tak 
a bit caul juck." The girl gave the old look of non-compre- 
hension at the mysterious word "juck." Johnny saw her 
difficulty, knew its cause, and hastened to explain. 

It's a cauld. duke the Provost means., lassie a cauld 



duke ', but, an' ye haena that, the breast o a bubbly-jock, 
or ony ither fule, 'ill do just as weel." 

We need not say that Johnny Yuill's attempt to explain 
made matters not a whit better, nor that the proffered 
alternatives with which he followed it up were just as un- 
intelligible as anything that had preceded them. It was, 
in truth, the longer the worse, the further in the deeper ; 
and the girl, finding it so, resigned all hope of making any- 
thing of the orders of the travellers, and ran down stairs 
for her master. The landlord of the Lion and Unicorn 
immediately appeared, and, being more accustomed to the 
lingo of North Britain than his maid, at once made out 
what was wanted, and gave his guests every satisfaction in 
the matter of supplying their wants. Both the Provost, 
however, and his man, had made a discovery. This was, 
that the language current at Starvieston was not so in 
London and the fact a good deal surprised them, and a good 
deal lessened their opinion of the English nation, and of 
the people of the metropolis in particular. 

On the following morning, the Provost prepared to com- 
mence the serious business of his visit to the capital ; but 
here was a great difficulty at the outset. He did not know 
very well where to begin, or how to set about it. He had 
started with very vague and indefinite notions on this sub- 
ject ; and it was only now that he discovered that he ought 
to have had his course, after he should have arrived in 
London, more clearly defined, and the process by which he 
was to obtain access to the King more distinctly ascertained. 
Something, indeed, had been suggested to the council about 
his calling on the Earl of Linlithgow ; but, as the suggestion 
had been made in a desultory way in the course of conversa- 
tion, nothing definite had been said on the subject. The 
matter was altogether a strange oversight ; but so it was. 

On the Earl of Linlithgow, however, the Provost had 
determined to call ; he resolved on making it his first step. 
They found the Earl from home a great disappointment ; 
but they resolved instantly upon going to the King 
direct. Their direction, now, was St James' ; and, having 
inquired their way, they very shortly found themselves 
at the principal entrance into that ancient abode of 
royalty, and were about to pass through the gate, without 
any ceremony, when their progress was suddenly arrested by 
a sentinel, who, placing his carabine across the Provost's 
breast, demanded their business. 

" Private business wi' the King private business wi' the 
King. I'm Provost o' Starvieston I'm Provost o' Star- 
vieston," said that worthy personage. 

" I wadna redd ye to interrupt us, lad," added Johnny ; 
"we're on business o' importance frae the town o' Star- 
vieston, an' he's its chief magistrate" pointing to the 
Provost; "so it'll be at yer peril if ye refuse us ad- 
mittance." 

The soldier, rather respectfully impressed with the big 
words employed by Johnny "business of importance 
town's business chief magistrate," &c. after some hesi- 
tation allowed them to pass into the quadrangle of the palace 
into which the gate they hud entered opened. This was 
so far good, but it was not much after all ; for they did not 
now know what hand to turn to. They were surrounded 
with doors and windows, and were greatly at a loss which 
of the former they should take ; and in this difficulty they 
continued for fully half an hour, sauntering about, and 
staring up from time to time at the windows of the quad- 
rangle, when a sudden stir began to manifest itself about a 
certain broad staircase that opened on the side opposite the 
outer entrance ; military guards, and other persons, strangely 
but gorgeously attired, took up formal positions at the foot 
of the said staircase, and it became crowded with powdered 
lackeys, in splendid liveries, running up and down, with 
looks full of bustle and importance. In a short while 
thereafter, carriages, and other conveyances of various kinds. 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



13 



filled wilh ladies and gentlemen, superbly dressed, began to 
arrive in great numbers, and in rapid succession. These, 
as tkey arrived, drew up at the foot of the staircase alluded 
to, which the persons by whom they were occupied im- 
mediately ascended, on being set down. It was evident to 
both the Provost and Johnny Yuill, that there was some- 
thing going on here of no ordinary character, and they were 
very curious to know what it could be ; but, seeing nobody 
at whom they could make the inquiry, they were obliged 
to be content, for some time, merely to look on and wonder. 

At length, Johnny espied a person at some little distance, 
whose appearance, altogether, indicated his being a menial, 
and of such rank as he might take the liberty of speaking 
to. Under these impressions, Johnny made up to him ; 
having previously apprized his master of his intentions, and 
desired him to remain where he was till he returned. 

" What's a' this collyshangy aboot, friend ?" he said to 
the person whom he had proposed to make his informant. 
The man did not understand the very elegant and classical 
word which Johnny had employed; but he understood, 
generally, the purport of the inquiry, and replied, that it 
was a levee. 

" A levee ?" said Johnny. " What's that ?" 

The man looked unutterable things at Johnny's ignorance, 
but had the civility to explain that it was the King seeing 
company. 

" And is the King up there ?" said Johnny, pointing to 
the great staircase. 

" To be sure, he is," was the reply. This was enough 
for Johnny. He and his master were now all right ; for he 
knew where they ought to go ; and it was with a glad face 
that he returned to the former, to tell him of the happy dis- 
covery he had made. 

" I've fand out whar he's noo, Provost !" said Johnny, 
smiling, as he approached the latter. " He's up there !" 
pointing to the stair ; " an' we couldna hae come in a better 
time, for he's seein company at ony rate, so that we'll no 
put him to ony inconvenience." 

" That's fine that's fine, Johnny !" replied the Provost, 
not less pleased than his man with their unexpected good 
luck. " Then, we'll just go up wi* the lave just go up 
wi' the lave, Johnny ;" and, saying this, they proceeded 
tOAvards the great staircase, and were about to enter it with 
perfect confidence and deliberation, when their progress 
was again suddenly arrested, but in this instance by half a 
dozen in place of one. Both the Provost and his man spoke 
at once, on the occasion of this interruption, and endeavoured 
to gain admittance by the same statements they had made 
before ; but it would not do. Their obstructors would by 
no means allow them to proceed. The Provost, manfully 
seconded by Johnny, insisted on getting in. The guards 
insisted they should not. Johnny's choler was excited. 

" What !" he said, " wad ye refuse admittance to the 
Provost o' Starvieston, the chief magistrate o* ane o' the 
maist ancientest bruchs in Scotland? My faith, ye're no 
blate ! But we'll go in spite o' them," continued Johnny, 
and was shoving the Provost before him. This was a 
violence not to be endured and it was not. It was met by 
equally strong measures. Both the Provost and Johnny 
were instantly collared. Johnny began to strike, the Provost 
to kick for he felt highly offended, too, at this treatment, 
and forgot his dignity in his irritation. But their opponents 
could strike, and kick also, and they did so., These were 
again returned in kind, by Johnny and his master, until 
the whole affair waxed into a regular hubbub, which was 
enlivened by Johnny's calling out, every now and then, in 
the midst of the struggle " Stick up to them, Provost ! 
stick up to them dinna let Starvieston be beat yet ! 
' that's it, Provost that's it ! Gie them't i' the pit o' 
the stamak." Johnny, in this particular, alluded to the 
weapons his master w'as using in the combat, which were 



his feet and little short legs, which he was plying w ith 
great vigour and activity. The odds, however, were so 
greatly against the strangers, that it was impossible the 
struggle could be of long continuance. Neither was it. 
Both the Provost and Johnny were floored in a twinkling 
and there held down, each by four or five persons, incapable 
of farther resistance. It was at this moment that is, while 
the chief magistrate of Starvieston was lying on the breadth 
of his back, with his clothes and linens grievously torn and 

soiled, and half a dozen of his enemies upon him that a 

person pressed into the crowd by which he was surrounded, 
and asked what was the matter. 

' It's two fellows, my Lord, who would force their way up 
stairs, whether we would or not," replied one of the guards. 
" Who are they ?" said the noble inquirer. 
" We don't know, my Lord ; but from the tonue we take 
them to be from Scotland." 

"Ah! from Scotland!" said the titled stranger, with 
increased interest ; and he now stretched over the crowd to 
obtain a view of the prostrate personage whom they sur- 
rounded. This proceeding procured him a peep of the 
degraded Provost's countenance, which, on obtaining se I 
should know that face," he muttered ; " I have surely seen 
it before. Stand about, and let me have a closer view of 
the man, and allow him, in the meantime, to rise to his 
feet." Both these orders were obeyed, and the Provost 
instantly regained his perpendicular. On his doing so 

"Have you ever seen me before, think you, friend?" 
said the Provost's emancipator. "I think I have seen 
you somewhere." 

The Provost looked earnestly at the inquirer for a 
second or two, and said, although with some hesitation, 
"Indeed I'm no sure, sir I'm no sure, but 1 think 
ye hae some resemblance, if my recollection serves me 
anything faithfully, to the Earl o' Linlithgow." 

" Right, friend right," replied the Earl for it was, 
indeed, he ; " I'm the Earl o' Linlithgow." 

" An' I'm the Provost o' Starvieston, Davy Clapperton," 
shouted the delighted magistrate, and, at the same time, 
seizing joyfully the readily-yielded hand of his noble 
friend. " Faith, my Lord, but ye hae come in fine time to 
save me an' Johnny frae a hecklin." 

" Provost, I am glad to see you very glad to see you, 
indeed," replied the Earl, shaking him cordially by the 
band ; " but what on earth has brought you into this 
predicament ? These are strange circumstances to meet the 
first magistrate of Starvieston in." 

" Faith, ye may say that, my Lord ye may say that , 
but it's odd what queer scrapes folk '11 get into that's awa 
frae hame," replied the Provost. 

" So it would appear," said the Earl ; " but come along, 
Provost, and tell me all about it." And he took the Provost's 
arm, and would have led him out of the crowd, but the 
latter quietly resisted, saying "My Lord, my Lord, ye 
maun relieve Johnny first ye maun relieve puir Johnny 
puir Johnny, wha's still in the hands o' the Philistines?" 

" Who's Johnny, Provost ?" said the Earl, in some sur- 
prise. 

" Ou, ye'll no ken Johnny, my Lord, I dare ^ say ye'U 
no ken him. He's my man,' my Lord my man." 
" And where is he ?" inquired the Earl. 
"They hae him doon amang them there," pointing to 
the group among whom Johnny was entombed, "on the 
broad o' his back, I daresay on the broad o' his back, as 
they had me." 

The Earl, now understanding what his worthy friend 
would be at, immediately proceeded to the rescue of Johnny, 
and, having effected this service, rejoined the Provost, when 
the whole three adjourned to a retired part of the quad- 
rangle, when the Provost fully informed the Earl of all 
circunistauces connected \vith his visit to the metropolis, 



H 



TALES O^ THE BORDERS. 



When he had concluded, tlie Earl at once undertook to 
render him every service in his power, towards enabling 
him to discharge the duties on which he came. 

" I will procure you the presentation you desire, Provost," 
said the Earl ; " hut you must appear in a court dress. 
You could not he admitted to the presence of the Sovereign 
in your present attire, even although the guards at the 
bottom of the staircase had passed you, which, however, 
they neither could nor dare do. It w r ould he out of all 
rule. A court dress you must have." 

" A court dress, my Lord ? a court dress a court dress? 
What's that ?" inquired the Provost. 

" My tailor will explain to you, Provost, if you will do 
him the honour to consult him," replied the Earl, smiling. 
"But I will manage all that for you, too, Provost, if you 
will do me the favour to call at my house, to-morrow fore- 
noon. In the meantime, I must leave you, to attend the 
levee." And, having said this, and again shaken the Provost 
by the hand, with a repetition of his injunctions that he 
should call upon him in the forenoon of the following day, 
the Earl walked away ; hut had not proceeded far, when he 
was pursued and overtaken hy the Provost and his man 
together. 

" My Lord, my Lord, beg yer pardon, ' said the former, 
tapping the Earl on the shoulder, to draw his attention, and 
who immediately turned round; "but I forgot. Wadna I 
require to get a court dress for Johnny too ?" 

" Has Johnny an address to deliver too ?" said the Earl, 
smiling. 

" Ou no, no, no ; but ye see he wad like to stick by me, 
puir fallow, during the hail business," replied the Provost; 
"an', as ye say naebody can get in but in a court dress, 
I had best get a shute for him too." 

" Nonsense, nonsense, Provost," said the Earl, laughing : 
" no dress for Johnny." And, without explaining himself 
farther, proceeded on his way. 

" Nae dress for Johnny !" repeated that person indignantly, 
on the departure of the Earl ; "an' what for no, I wad like 
to ken, as lang as ye're able an" willin to pay for't, Provost ?" 

" Eicht there, Johnny richt there," said the Provost ; 
" but we needna camstairy the Yearl ony way aboot it, 
Johnny. We'll just get a shute made for ye quately, 
without saying onything aboot it to onybody but the tailor." 

Next day, they called on the Earl, and got the necessary 
instructions, and, at same time, the Earl's tailor came 
by his orders, and took the Provost's measure. On the 
following night, the tailor, with the Provost's dress, ap- 
peared at the Lion and Unicorn, and, having been in- 
troduced to his customer, requested that he would do him 
the favour to try it on, that he might see if there was any- 
thing amiss. Saying this, he turned out of a bag all the 
paraphernalia of court attire, and, in a few minutes after, 
the worthy Provost was arrayed, or rather disguised in such 
a way as hardly to know himself, and in such a way as 
greatly to amaze, and puzzle, and bewilder his ancient 
friend Johnny, who stared at him with open mouth and in 
silent astonishment. At length 

" God preserve us, Provost, but this is grand wark !" he 
said, as he gazed on the short, satin Spanish cloak in which 
his master was arrayed, the slashed pantaloons, silk hose, 
with large roses at the knee, waistcoat embroidered with 
gold, beaver and feathers, and, last, though not least, long 
glittering small sword which depended from his side ; the 
tailor furnishing this indispensable article also. " This is 
grand wark," he said. " My faith, we're gettin up the brae 
finely. What wad the folk o' Starvieston say if they saw 
their Provost noo, I wonder ? My word, but they wad be 
proud o' him, and micht match him against the Provost o 
ony burgh in Christendom, let alane Scotland." 

"'Tuts, tuts, Johnny, man," said the Provost, smiling 
complacently, but affecting some displeasure at this freedom 



in the presence of the tailor. " Ye're a foolish mnn a 
foolish man, and speak a heap o' nonsense a heap o non- 
sense." 

" But I say, friend/' he said, now addressing the archi- 
tect of his present outward structure, " could ye mak a shute, 
the same as this, for this man here?" 

" Oh, to be sure, sir, for anybody," replied the man of 
broad cloths and buckram. 

" Aweel, 1 wus ye wad just mak him a shute, then, and 
I'll pay them baith thegither." 

The man looked a good deal surprised. 

" Do you mean precisely the same in all respects as your 
own, sir ?" 

" Surely," interposed Johnny, rather angrily " and what 
for no ?" 

"Oh, no reason at all, sir only, only, I like to have 
my orders particular, that there may be no mistake that's 
all. sir." 

(Pretty dexterously turned off, Mr Tailor.) 

rt Quite richt, quite richt," interfered the Provost ' ' quite 
richt. Weel, then, just measure Johnny for a shute." 

The tailor did so ; and, while he did it, it occurred to him 
that he had never measured so uncouth a figure for such a 
dress before. 

To avoid a great deal of uninteresting detail, we will 
now carry the reader forward at once to the presentation 
day. On that day the quadrangle and staircase at St 
James' formerly spoken of, exhibited precisely the same 
scene as that already described. But let us enter this 
staircase, and let us lean over the balustrade on the first 
landing-place, and mark those that ascend. The very 
first pair attracts our attention in a most particular man- 
ner. They are, indeed, a singularly strange-looking couple. 
The one is a short, little, fat man ; the other, a tall, gaunt 
figure, who seems to walk in these fine clothes as if he 
was gyved, and appears either afraid or unable to move 
his joints. He is evidently grievously oppressed with his 
own finery. Who can they be ? Why, we dare say you 
have a guess, good reader. They are no other than the 
Provost of Starvieston, and his man, Johnny Yuill. Their 
dress alone had carried them unchallenged past the guard 
at the foot of the stair. Let us observe, however, that, in 
bringing Johnny in this guise along with him, it was not 
the Provost's intention openly to contemn the Earl of 
Linlithgow's- objective remarks on that subject; nor was it 
his intention to drag him conspicuously forward. What 
was aimed at by both was, that he should be slipped, 
smuggled in, and thus obtain a peep of all that passed, with- 
out attracting notice. This was the plot between the two, 
and they hoped to get through with it successfully. 

On the Provost and his man reaching the first landing- 
place, on which opened the entrance into the suite of apart- 
ments that led to the audience chamber, there was a con- 
siderable crowd pressing for admission ; so great as to 
distract the attention of the ushers, and thus to enable 
several to pass without question, who had no motive for 
desiring the privilege, and who did not desire it. Pushing 
into this crowd, the Provost was quickly carried into the 
apartment ; but, on looking round, missed Johnny. He 
was still on the outside, either afraid or unable to come 
further. Seeing this, the Provost went as near the door 
again as he could, and gave him a wag of his finger, accom- 
panied by a nod of encouragement, exclaiming, at the same 
time, but under breath 

" Johnny, Johnny. Come forrit, man come forrit." 

Thus encouraged, Johnny edged more resolutely into the 
crowd by which the door was still thronged, and finally 
succeeded in getting fairly into the first apartment beside 
his master. A similar occurrence of similarly favourable 
circumstances carried them into the next apartment, and 
finally into the audience chamber, crowded with peers and 






TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



peeresses, and ladies end gentlemen of various ranks and 
degrees. Here the Provost and Johnny began to walk up 
and down, and to occupy themselves in gazing at the various 
splendours, animate and inanimate, with which they were 
surrounded. We need not say that the scene was new to 
them, nor that it excited in both the utmost amazement and 
admiration. It had been previously arranged between the 
Provost and the Earl, that the latter should seek out the 
former in the audience chamber when the proper time came 
for his introduction, and that he should then present him 
to the notice of the King. The Provost, then, had nothing 
now to do but to await this call, on the taking place of 
which it was again understood between him and his man, 
that the latter should slip away amongst the crowd, to avoid 
the notice of the Earl. 

Leaving our two worthies thus employed, then that is, 
in walking about and staring around them >we shall direct 
our attention, for a moment, to some other proceedings of 
interest which took place in the audience chamber about 
this time. In about half-an-hour after the Provost and 
Johnny had entered the apartment just named, a buzz 
suddenly arose that the King was coming ; and, in the next 
instant, the folding doors on the right of the throne flew 
open, and a flourish of trumpets heralded the advent of the 
monarch, who immediately ascended the steps that led to it, 
and placed himself in the regal chair. Having seated him- 
self, he glanced in silence for a moment around the glitter- 
ing assemblage, when his eye was observed suddenly to 
become fixed in one particular direction. In this direction 
he gazed intently for a second or two, a smile mantling on 
his lips ; then, turning round to the Earl of Linlithgow, who 
was at his right hand 

" In heaven's name, my Lord, who are these two persons 
close by the door at the further end of the apartment ? They 
are the oddest-looking pair I ever saw in my life," he said, 
in a whisper, and struggling to suppress a laugh which was 
threatening to make itself most indecorously manifest. The 
Earl looked in the direction indicated, and recognised in 
the figure of one of the persons alluded to by the King, his 
friend, the Provost of Starvieston. The other he could not 
make out. Having made these observations, he, in a low 
voice, communicated the result to Charles. 

" One of these persons, your Majesty," said the Earl, 
smiling, and speaking with ironical pleasantry, " is the 
worthy Provost of your Majesty's very loyal burgh of 
Starvieston, regarding whom I spoke to your Majesty, and 
who, your Majesty will recollect, is this day to have the 
honour of presenting a congratulatory address from the good 
town of which he is chief magistrate, and for which he 
expects the honour of knighthood at your Majesty's royal 
hands." 

" Oh, so ! I recollect," replied the King. " But which 
of the two is he, pray, my Lord? the tall, or the short man?" 

"The short man, please your Majesty. "Who the tall 
man is, I don't know." 

" Why, they are both odd-enough looking figures," replied 
the King ; " but the tall fellow is the greater oddity of 
the two. I never saw such a figure in my life." And 
again Charles struggled to suppress the laugh which was 
racking him within. " Who, in heaven's name, can he be ? 
'Od'sfish, my Lord, you must make me out who he is. 
shall die of curiosity till I know. The foolish, dismal 
gravity of that man's face is beyond all endurance." 

"If your Majesty can only contrive to live for five 
minutes, your curiosity shall be gratified," replied the Earl; 
' ' for I see my friend, the Provost, appears to be intimately 
acquainted with him, and he'll tell me all about him, I dare 
Bay." 

Having said this, the Earl stepped down from the elevated 
position he was in beside the throne, and proceeded to 
thread his way towards the Provost and his companion, the 



object of the King's curiosity. Both of these worthies 
having had their eyes on the Earl from the moment of his 
entering the audience chamber with the King, marked hia 
movements, and took their measures accordingly. 

" He's comin noo he's comin noo, Johnny," said the 
Provost, on seeing the Earl making towards him. " Cut oot 
o' the way as fast's ye ran, and I'll meet ye at the stair fit 
whan a's owre." 

Obedient to the hint of his master, Johnny slunk away 
amongst the crowd, and both believed that no danger from 
discovery need to be apprehended, as the warning of the 
latter to get out of the way had been sufficiently timeous. 
On the Earl's approach 

" Hoo are ye, my Lord ? hoo are ye, my Lord?" said 
the Provost, smirking and scraping the floor with his right 
foot. " Ye're very attentive very attentive, I'm sure ; and 
I'm a* ready for ye a' ready for ye, my Lord." 

"By and by, Provost by and by," replied the Earl. " The 
proper moment for your presentation has not yet arrived. 
When it has, I will be with you. In the meantime, 
Provost, I have come merely to inquire who the tall gentle- 
man is with whom you were speaking a few moments ago ?" 

" Me, me, my Lord ! Wha, wha ?" said the Provost, in 
great confusion. " What tall gentleman, my Lord ? what 
tall gentleman ?" 

" Why, the tall gentleman, Provost, who was speaking 
with you an instant ago," replied the Earl, in considerable 
surprise at the Provost's too evident embarrassment. 

" Ou, ay ou ay the lang man, my Lord the lang man ; 
just an acquaintance just an acquaintance ; that's a' 
that's a." 

" Well, that's enough, Provost," replied the Earl, some- 
what impatiently " that's enough to enable you to tell me 
who and what he is. The truth is, Provost, the King de- 
sires to know." 

This was what the Provost himself would call " waur and 
mair o't." If his embarrassment and uneasiness were great 
at the idea of Johnny's intrusion becoming known to the 
Earl, they were infinitely more so at the prospect of that 
enormity's reaching the ear of the King this being a 
result which he had never for an instant contemplated ; and 
the consequence of its probability at this moment was to 
suggest to him certain vague, but sufficiently unpleasant 
ideas of heading, hanging, or imprisonment for life the least, 
he believed, he might now expect. Under these awkward 
impressions, and with a countenance and manner which 
very faithfully represented them, the Provost laid his hand 
on the Earl's arm with a deprecatory motion, and said 

' Weel, my Lord weel, my Lord, I'll just tell ye the 
truth I'll just tell ye the truth ; but, as ye hae ony regard 
for me, dinna tell his Majesty o't it micht lead me into 
muckle mischief. The man ye speak o' is nae ither than 
my man Johnny Yuill." 

"Your man, Provost! your serving man!" replied the 
Earl, with the slow, distinct enunciation of overwhelming 
surprise. " Impossible, Provost ! impossible !" 

" Na, faith, my Lord ; it's true it's owre true ; it's just 
Johnny, I assure ye." 

" Why, he's dressed like a lord," said the Earl, who had 
now again got sight of, and was looking hard at the uncon- 
scious culprit, as he was stalking about the room, and staring 
gravely about him, much as if he was going through a fair. 

" Ou ay, ou ay," replied the Provost ; " he's gayan weel 
put on, my Lord just the same as mysel, my Lord just 
the same as mysel." 

" So I see," said the Earl, smiling. " But pray, Provost, 
what is the meaning of this strange affair ? What is the 
purpose of it ? And how did you get him past the guards 
and ushers ? I thought you might not have passed yourself, 
Provost, without sending for me, as I told you to do, on 
your being stopped." 



TALES Oi BORDERS. 



~- ;--::: : _. :if:f 

Johmmyhadeomeby 
of tike 



^Lf- -r Kimrhmiidni h 



which he saw both, at 



lmfimg the whole br 
, thai tike Earl 



of the aur to "his mat 

> ulmiy, however, the Provost eomld 

The joke was too 
felt, to be concealed from the 

amd he, therefore, 



ne Fioiosi, therefore, 

would not infixm the 

~: ^_? 
towards him aid, im a 



limomt? Whoom 



Wefl, mj Lnrf, hare jom 



Bat who B this 



; is the ProvosTs 



, my Loxd, teU me the whole trmth of the 

iizi : ~r. : _:-. : :". JL .:. 

omaieh of Johmmy's real 
_ the 

*ke, 

what a eompfe of 

^ fe fmU swimg to the mirth which the 

he had jst recerndhad 

both. We mast hare a private amfiemce of 
Iwomlimotmmit 



dams of vwr Ha|esty"s 



tibem after the 



-It's* wrewT 
hoohb. We're mm to he 



i^rf his wife, 







WILSON'S 



TALES OF THE BORDERS, 



AND OF SCOTLAND. 



thataa awfol 



THE RESTORED SOX. 



with dUUkt at the 






the Ubj, * 



-_: :. ..:: -:- :.. ! 



-'. " " 




HI 



18 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



informing him that by the next ship ho intended to send 
his eldest daughter, who was now seven years old, home to 
his care. The ship by which this letter had been forwarded, 
having met with a succession of light and baffling winds, 
had made so long a passage that the little stranger whose ap- 
proach it announced might be now daily expected. At length, 
the newspapers gave notice of the arrival off the Start of the 
ship Cornwallis ; and Gavin Douglas prepared to hasten up to 
town to receive his grandaughter. Philip, who was at home 
fo r his school holidays, and who was now as dear to Douglas as 
if he had been his own flesh and blood, entreated and obtained 
permission to accompany him. Owing to a long continuance 
of easterly winds, the Cornwallis made a tedious passage up 
the Channel, and our travellers were detained for some days 
at Gravesend, awaiting her arrival. To Philip this delay 
was most welcome ; the bustling scenes around him seemed 
to arouse the latent energies of his nature. Accustomed to 
the quiet, and peaceful monotony of a country life, he felt 
as if a new sphere of existence was opened to him ; and 
everything he beheld, bore, in his eyes, the stamp of novelty 
and excitement. His great delight was to loiter for hours 
at the stairs, ( Gravesend did not then boast of the hand- 
some jetty which now adorns it,) and to gaze at the numerous 
craft floating on the bosom of the majestic Thames ; some 
lying at anchor, and others taking advantage of the tide to 
hasten towards their various destinations. Frank and open 
in his manner, eager and anxious in his thirst for information, 
the watermen, who were always lounging in numbers about 
the stairs, felt a pleasure in gratifying his curiosity, and in 
initiating him into all the mysteries of river seamanship ; 
and he soon learned to distinguish the different " riggs" of 
the passing vessels, from the lowly " peter-boat" to the 
majestic ship. One morning there was a dead calm ; the 
river was gliding past unruffled by the slightest air ; the 
cheerful " yo, heave, oh !" of the sailors, and the loud clanking 
of the windlass " pauls," were heard distinctly from some of 
the distant colliers, shortening in cable preparatory to making 
a start ; while the rattling clattering sounds of the chains 
were heard from others, which were just "bringing up" 
for it was high water, and the upward-bound vessels were 
obliged to come to anchor. Philip had been at his usual 
post for some time, when his attention was attracted by the 
heavy sluggish cloud of smoke which hung in the wake of 
two steamers, whose low painted chimneys were seen over 
the land, which they flitted past with great rapidity, while 
the tall, naked spars of a large ship towered far above them. 
At length their hulls became distinctly visible. 

"Hand here the glass, Jem," said a waterman, who 
was anxiously observing them, to his comrade ; " let me have 
a squint at her. Ah ! I'd swear to her among a thousand ! 
That's the old Cornwallis ! Jump into the boat, Jem, and 
let's push out into the stream." 

Away flew our friend Philip to the inn, to tell his father, 
as he called him, the welcome news. The old gentleman 
hurried down to the stairs, and the Cornwallis had hardly 
let go her anchor in Gravesend Reach, before he and Philip 
were on her quarterdeck, inquiring for Catherine Douglas. 
Captain M'Dougall of the Cornwallis received them with 
the greatest politeness, and, upon Gavin Douglas informing 
him of the cause of his visit, he was immediately ushered 
into one of the round-house cabins, where a little dark-eyed 
girl was playing with her ayah. 

" Catherine, my dear," said Captain M'Dougall, " here is 
your grandpapa come to visit you." 

Little Catherine, as we said before, was seven years old, 
and, like most Indian children, quick and clever beyond her 
years. She was a brunette in complexion so much so in- 
deed, that she might have been mistaken for a descendant from 
parentage of the climate in which she had been reared. Her 
eyes were dark, lively, and brilliant, and a profusion of rich 
black hair fell in clusters upon her shoulders. The moment 



she heard Captain M'Dougall's announcement, she dropped 
the toy with which she was playing, and ran eagerly up to 
Douglas : 

" Are you really Grrandpapa Gavin ?" 

" Yes, my love," said the old gentleman, almost smothering 
:ier with kisses. 

" Are you quite sure ?" said she : " then," looking 
smilingly up in his face, " I think I love you very much, 
Grandpapa." 

Philip was now introduced, and, in five minutes' time, the 
two young people were sworn friends. Catherine had shewn 
Philip all her rich store of toys, and had answered all his 
ager questions about the voyage, the ship, the uses of 
various things in the cabin, &c. Be not impatient, gentle 
reader, at the details of this childish meeting ; the happiness 
or misery of life often depends upon trifles light as air, and 
our friend Philip's future destiny took its hue from the 
consequences of that intimacy of which we have just been 
describing the commencement. In the course of a fortnight, 
the travellers with their young charge returned to Eskhall, 
where the little stranger met with the most affectionate 
welcome. The banks of the Esk were beautiful as ever ; 
but, to Philip's eyes, they had lost great part of their at- 
traction; he had had a glimpse of the scenes of active life, 
and he was eager to engage in them. The country sports 
in which he used to take such delight, began to lose their 
relish ; and his principal amusement now was to wander in 
the green fields with little Catherine, and to listen to the 
tales she told of her recollections of the distant lands she 
had left. His curiosity was excited, and he burned with 
impatience to visit them, and to judge for himself; and he 
expressed to Gavin Douglas his predilection for a sailor's 
life, and his eager wish to commence his career as soon as 
circumstances would allow. Gavin's heart yearned towards 
the handsome and spirited boy, whose eye sparkled, and 
whose tongue became eloquent as he urged his suit ; and he 
felt that the time was come, which he had long looked 
forward to with pain, when this young and ardent spirit 
must leave his guardian care, and be intrusted to its own 
impulses. He talked seriously and affectionately to the boy, 
on the subject of his wishes ; told him, what had hitherto 
been kept a secret from him the history of his first ap- 
pearance at Eskhall ; assured him that he always would be, 
as he hitherto had been, in the place of a father to him ; and 
concluded with saying " Reflect seriously upon what I 
have pointed out to you, my dear boy ; I have laid before 
you, as far as my experience goes, all the advantages and 
disadvantages of the profession which you wish to adopt ; 
weigh the matter carefully in your thoughts ; and if, at the 
end of a week, you continue in the same mind, I will do all 
in my power to promote your wishes." 

Poor Philip's astonishment and distress were unbounded, 
when Gavin informed him of the mystery that hung ovei 
his birth. He had always hitherto been known by the 
name of Douglas, and had been accustomed to consider 
himself as Gavin's grandson ; and the truth burst upon him 
with the astounding effect of a thunderbolt. Pale as ashes, 
with the tears streaming down his cheeks, he exclaimed 

" Not your grandson, sir ? Then who am I ? Good 
heavens ! have I been living from my earliest years a poor 
dependant upon your bounty? O my generous bene- 
factor ! my more than father ! how can I ever prove my 
gratitude to you for your unvaried affection and kindness ?" 
" You have already proved it, Philip, by repaying affec- 
tion with affection ; by your steady obedience, and constant 
attention to my slightest wish. I have a father's love for 
you, Philip ; and, poor, and unknown, and alien as you are, 
you have made yourself as dear to me as if you were my 
own flesh and blood. I feared that this disclosure would 
fall like a blight upon your young spirit ; but, painful as it 
is, it was necessary that it should be saade, Cheer up, my 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



6oy ! brighter days will come. I feel a conviction that the 
secret _ of your birth will be one day discovered, and that 
you will have no reason to blush for your parentage." 

" Heaven grant it may be so, sir ! but I dare not hope. 
Jf I had not been a cause of shame to my parents, would 
they have deserted me ?" 

Douglas shook his head, and said 

" Time will shew. At all events, my dear Philip, look 
upon me as your father until you find a better." 

" That can never be, my dear, dear gr benefactor." 

The week of reflection passed away ; but not so Philip's 
resolution, which was now confirmed and strengthened by 
his eager desire to relieve Mr Douglas from the burden o'f 
his support, and by the hope that he might by some for- 
tunate chance be guided to the discovery of his true parents. 
On his making known his decision, Gavin Douglas imme- 
diately wrote to a friend in town, through whose interest 
he obtained for him an appointment as midshipman on 
board an Indiaman which was on the point of sailing for 
Bengal and China, and which it was necessary for him to 
"join" immediately. Before he left Eskhall, Gavin de- 
livered into his hands the ring and other articles that had 
been found in the basket in which he was exposed when an 
infant, that he might have some clue whereby to endeavour 
to trace out his parents. Delighted as Philip was at the 
prospect of entering upon his new profession, he felt the 
greatest sorrow at parting from his kind and liberal bene- 
factor, and from those whom he had been so long accustomed 
to look upon as near and dear relations ; but still more 
deeply was he affected at leaving his beloved little playmate, 
Catherine. Her grief on the occasion was excessive. 
Philip had been her constant companion in all her little 
rambles, and her resource and comfort in all her childish 
difficulties and sorrows. He had scarcely ever left her side ; 
and now she was to part with him perhaps for ever ! 
Poor Philip himself was obliged to exert all the pride of 
precocious manhood, to resist the contagious example of her 
tears ; but he did all in his power to comfort the little 
mourner, and at last partially succeeded, by reminding her 
that in a few months the voyage would be over. 

" And then, dear Phil, will you come back again ?" 

" That I will." 

" Oh ! how glad I shall be to see you again !" And she 
jumped about, clapping her little hands for joy, till the re- 
collection of the long separation that must intervene called 
forth a fresh torrent of tears. 

At length the parting scene was over ; and, freighted 
with the blessings and good wishes of all who knew him, 
Philip was fairly launched into the rough ocean of life, to 
be exposed to all its storms and quicksands, from which he 
had been hitherto safely sheltered in the calm haven of 
domestic peace. The first voyage passed safely and happily ; 
and some years flew by in the same routine of leave-takings 
and glad meetings. Philip loved his profession enthusi- 
astically ; but, at every successive parting, he felt more and 
more unwilling to tear himself from Eskhall and its be- 
loved inmates. Catherine was now a lovely elegant girl of 
eighteen ; her childish preference for Philip had been 
gradually and imperceptibly gaining strength, till it had be- 
come the ruling passion of her heart. He loved her fondly 
and tenderly ; but his fears were excited by her constantly 
increasing reserve towards him ; there was such apparent in- 
consistency between the attentive kindness of her actions, 
and the distance and almost coldness of her manner, that 
he was puzzled, as well as surprised. But the eyes of 
Gavin Douglas' experience were open 5 and he had for 
some time read in the changing complexion of Gather ne 
whenever Philip approached her, in the embarrassment of 
her manner whenever she addressed him, and in the sup- 
pressed eagerness of her interest in whatever concernedhim 
that secret which she shrunk from confessing even to her 



own heart. Though lie dreaded the consequenc of an 
attachment which he thought might be productive of onlj 
misery and disappointment, yet he had too much confidence 
in Philip's honour and discretion to fear any clandestine 
avowal of love on his part. He wrote to his son Edward 
in Calcutta, informing him of his suspicions and fears as to 
the state of Catherine's affections telling him all the par- 
ticulars of Philip's history, and leaving it to his own judg- 
ment to act as he thought circumstances required. 

" In the meantime," wrote he, " I cannot openly inter- 
fere, lest, by striving to remedy, I should only increase the 
evil; but I will endeavour, quietly and unobtrusively, to keep 
the young people apart until I hear your decision. My 
opinion is, that a final separation will be the only means of 
weaning them from each other. Catherine has a father's 
home to receive her when poor Philip leaves me he leaves 
his only earthly protector ; and, even for my grandaughter's 
sake, I cannot part with one whose amiable and affec- 
tionate dispositions have rendered him dear to me as a 
son." 

The result of this communication was a letter to Catherine, 
from her father, telling her that he was obliged to visit 
England for a few months, on business, and begging her to 
hold herself in readiness to accompany him on his return to 
Calcutta. Philip had just arrived from abroad when he re- 
ceived this news; and, as is often the case, it was not till 
he feared he was going to part with Catherine for ever, 
that he felt how deeply and fondly he loved her. He be- 
came restless and unhappy ; and wandered away, day after 
day, alone, under pretence of seeking amusement in rural 
sports, but in reality for the sake of indulging the sorrow 
that was preying upon his mind. He shunned all society, 
even that of her whose image was ever present to him, and 
absented himself as much as he possibly could, from the 
family meetings at meals. His dejection began to have an 
evident effect upon his health, and the kind-hearted Gavin 
grieved to see his young favourite pining under the influence 
of his hidden sorrow. 

" Philip, my son," said he to him one day, " why 
have you not 'confided in me, your oldest and dearest 
friend? I have penetrated your secret, Philip, and I 
honour you for endeavouring to confine it to your own 
bosom ; but you must rouse all your energies to shake off" 
the tyranny of a passion, which your high sense of principle 
must tell you cannot safely be indulged in, and is only 
likely to be productive of sorrow and disappointment." He 
then proceeded to remind him delicately of the cloud 
that hung over his birth, of his want of means to maintain 
the woman of his choice in comfort, and of the absolute 
necessity for his strenuous exertions to rise in his profession, 
as the only chance of bettering his condition in life; "for 
though," added the generous man, " it is my intention to 
make some provision for you in my will, yet there are so 
many claims of relationship upon me, that your proportion 
will, I fear, be but small." 

Philip's heart swelled, and his eye glistened, as he 
pressed 'the old man's hand, in mute acknowledgment ot 
his kindness; and some moments elapsed ere he could 
sufficiently command his feelings, to give expression to them 
in words. At length, in broken and hurried accents, he ex- 
pressed his heartfelt gratitude ; he confessed that he had 
long loved Catherine, but said that he had never " told his 
iove," hoping that his prospects might brighten, and that 
he might then be enabled to prove himself worthy of the 
happiness he sought. He acknowledged the justice and 
propriety of all Mr Douglas had said, and expressed hia 
conviction that it was his duty, however painful it might 
be to his feelings, to tear himself from the society Of 
whose presence was so dangerous to his peace, and to en- 
deavour, however vain that endeavour might be, for / 
i sake as well as for his own, to conceal, though he could not 



20 



TALES OF THE BORDERb 



stifle, the passion which reigned in his heart. It was agreec 
upon, between the two friends, that Philip should employ 
his time while on shore in travelling, till his ship was again 
ready for sea, and that he should, then join her, withou 
taking leave a second time of his friends, except by letter 
Poor Philip could hardly command his feelings, when taking 
what he considered to be his final farewell of Catherine 
lie knew that when he next returned home, Eskhall wouh 
have lost its principal charm in his eyes that she would no 
longer be there, and that, in all human probability, they migh 
never meet again. Catherine only felt, or appeared to feel 
the uneasiness attending a temporary parting ; but her voice 
trembled slightly as, with a pale but steady countenance, she 
bade him adieu ; and, leaving the room with a calm though 
melancholy manner, she hurried to her chamber, and, securing 
the door, gave way to the sorrow which in his presence she 
had successfully endeavoured to restrain. Time passec 
slowly and heavily with Philip during a rambling tour which 
he made through different parts of England and Wales. 
He fought manfully against the sorrow that oppressed him, 
and endeavoured, by rapidity of motion, and constant vari- 
ation of scene, to turn his thoughts into another channel ; 
but in vain the arrow was fixed too deeply in his heart. He 
hurried from place to place, and from change to change ; but 
he could not fly from himself. In vain did Nature present her 
varied beauties to his eyes ; he gazed listlessly and vacantly 
upon all he beheld he looked as though he saw not, for 
his heart was elsewhere, and he felt that for him the charm 
of existence was over. In the meantime, Catherine's father 
had arrived at Eskhall, and had been informed by Gavin 
Douglas of Philip's noble struggle with his unfortunately 
placed passion, and of the anguish of mind which his reso- 
lution had cost him. 

" Generous young man !" exclaimed Edward Douglas; "he 
deserves a happier fate. Would that I could favour his suit ; 
but, poor, unknown, and perhaps basely born as he is, it i 
my duty as a father to oppose it." 

Shortly before Philip's ship came afloat, Edward Douglas 
was obliged to go to London on business ; and there he 
found out, and introduced himself to our young friend. 
Few young men of his age possessed greater powers oJ 
pleasing than Philip ; there was a frank ingenuousness in 
his manner and address, which, seconded by the remarkable 
beauty of his features, immediately made a favourable im- 
pression upon a stranger an impression which a further in- 
timacy seldom failed to strengthen into affection and esteem. 
Such was the effect of his introduction to Edward Douglas. 
They were mutually pleased with each other, and every hour 
that Philip could spare from professional duties, was devoted 
to his new friend, rendered doubly dear to him by his near 
connection with her whose name he dared not mention, 
though ever in his thoughts. 

" My dear fellow," said Douglas to him one day, " I am 
aware of the sacrifice you have made of feeling to principle, 
and I honour and esteem you for it. Would to heaven your 
circumstances and my own were different ! Situated as you 
are, without the means of supporting even yourself, I think 
I know you too well already to imagine that you would 
willingly expose her you love, to poverty and humiliation. 
Were my circumstances such as to enable me to enrich my 
daughter, and to follow the inclinations of my own heart. 
I know no one for whom I would more willingly use a father's 
influence than yourself." 

Philip's heart was too full for words; yet, though he felt the 
hardship, he acknowledged the justice, of Edward Douglas' 
objections, and felt greatly affected by his kind expressions 
of friendly feeling towards him. They parted with mutual 
regret ; Edward to return to Eskhall, and Philip to join 
his ship at Gravesend. 

"Ah!" said Gavin Douglas, one morning, about a fort- 
night after the above parting, as the family were seated 



round the breakfast-table, " there is the post-bag ! Bring it 
here, James" (to the servant.) " It looks too thin to contain 
anything, I am afraid. Yes! here is a letter from dear 
Phil." 

" When is he to return, grandfather ?" asked Emma, 
now a full-grown woman. Catherine was seized with a 
sudden curiosity to look at a pamphlet which lay upon the 
table, and which she held very close to her eyes. 

" Return, my love !" said Gavin ; " when his voyage is 
over, I hope ; this letter was sent on shore by the pilot, and 
is dated ' Off Scilly.' But, mercy upon us ! what is the 
matter with Catherine ?" 

The pamphlet had fallen from her hand ; the cheek which 
had flushed to crimson at the mention of Philip's name, was 
now of death-like paleness ; and she was leaning back in her 
chair, with her eyes closed, and panting for breath. 

" Thoughtless blockhead that I was !" muttered Gavin 
I Douglas. And he then set himself to repair the mischief he 
had done, by bustling about to procure the necessary remedies, 
which at last succeeded in restoring Catherine to conscious- 
ness. 

" It was a sudden spasm," said she ; " I shall soon re- 
cover from it." 

" Poor girl !" thought Gavin, <f I fear not ; the evil is moro 
deeply rooted than I imagined." 

From this period, Catherine became quite an altered 
character. A settled melancholy seemed to weigh upon her 
heart ; she was mild, gentle, and affectionate as ever, but the 
buoyancy of her spirit was gone, and the smile which now 
but seldom brightened her countenance, was evidently but 
grief in disguise. Her friends, with delicate consideration, 
avoided all allusion to the cause of her sorrow, which was 
but too well known to them all ; and her fond and grieving 
father hoped that time, and absence, and the novel scenes 
she was about to enter into, might work, imperceptibly to 
herself, a gradual cure. 

Nearly nine months had elapsed since Philip's departure ; 
Catherine, half broken-hearted, had accompanied her father 
on shipboard, and Avas far on her way to the East ; and the 
Recovery, Philip's ship, was on her homeward voyage. One 
fine night in March, the Recovery was running along the 
Lagullas Bank, taking advantage of the current which 
sweeps round the Cape of Good Hope to the eastward. The 
wind was light, but steady from the S.E., and the night 
cloudy, when the look-out man on the forecastle called out 
' ' A light on the larboard bow, sir !" A small glimmering 
light was seen on the horizon to windward, which gradually 
enlarged te a broad flame, wavering and flickering in the 
breeze; and, almost immediately, the dull sound of a gun came 
faintly moaning over the waters, and a long train of arrowy 
light went rushing up into the sky, where it hung for a 
moment, and then burst into separate flashes, which gradually 
died away, as they descended. The officer of the deck ran 
in to the captain immediately " I am afraid, sir, there is a 
ship on fire to windward. There is a strong light on our 
weather beam, and I heard the report of a gun, and saw the 
flash of a rocket." 

" Indeed ! Tell the gunner to clear away one of the guns. 
Call the hands out. I will be out in a minute." 

The light, in the meantime, was gradually increasing in 
size, and it was evident, from the wavering outline which 
it presented, that the first conjecture respecting its origin 
was a correct one ; and gun after gun confirmed it. The 
captain speedily made his appearance on deck, and, after a 
moment's glance to windward, called to the chief mate. 
" Run the stunsails in, Mr Waring ! Brace sharp up, and 
bring the ship to the wind ! Are you all ready with that 
gun, Mr Wad?" 
" All ready, sir !" 

" Then, fire ! Bear a hand, clear away another gun !" 
The Recovery was now hauled close to the wind, anJ 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



21 



was slipping rapidly through the water in the direction of 
the light ; all hands were on deck, and, after the bustle of 
taking in and stowing the studdingsails had subsided, the 
eyes of all were directed with the greatest anxiety towards 
the horizon on the weather bow, where the flame was now 
distinctly seen, sometimes barely visible above the water, 
and then bursting upward in broad and vivid jets, waving 
fitfully in the breeze. All at once it disappeared, and half 
suppressed murmurs and ejaculations burst from the excited 
crew of the Recovery. 

" I fear we are too late, sir !" said "Waring, the mate ; 
" the light has disappeared." 

" Very strange !" replied the captain, straining his eyes 
through the night-glass. " I hope not ! Oh, no ! I see how 
it is : dont you observe that the red fiery haze still hangs 
round the spot ? and, hark ! there is another gun ! She is 
on fire abaft, and is running down before the wind. She has 
heard our signals. Fire another gun !" 

The vessel to windward still continued firing minute 
guns, by the louder report of which it was evident she was 
rapidly approaching ; and, in a short time, the dark mass of 
her canvass was distinctly visible, standing out in bold relief 
from its fiery back-ground. 

" Have the quarter cutters clear for lowering, Mr Waring," 
said the captaiu. " Away aloft there, topmen ; send down 
whips for the yard tackles, and have the large cutter all 
clear for tossing out." 

These orders were instantly and actively obeyed ; the 
crew seemed to vie with each other in their exertions, and 
strained every nerve in their eager emulation. They could 
now clearly discern the dark hull of the ship, the sails for- 
ward hiding the body of the flame, broad masses of which 
were seen, with every roll she took, flaring out from each 
side, alternately, of the dark screen of canvass. 

' Man the gear of the courses ! up courses ! in royals 
and topgallantsails ! back the mainyard !" were the 
orders which now rapidly succeeded each other ; and, in a 
few moments, the Recovery lay as motionless as a log on the 
water. 

" Call the hands out boats !" 

The large cutter was quickly hoisted out, the quarter- 
boats were lowered and manned, and kept alongside, in 
readiness to push off at a moment's warning. The burning 
ship was rapidly approaching, and was now within two miles 
of the Recovery. 

" Fire a gun to windward, and burn a blue light/' ex- 
claimed the Captain ; " she is quite near enough." 

The stranger now came slowly and gradually up to the 
wind, and hove to, with her maintopsail to the mast, about 
a mile a-head and to windward of the Recovery. An 
involuntary shout of horror and admiration burst from the 
crew of that ship, when the change in the position of the 
stranger revealed to them the terrific extent of her danger 
of horror for the imminent peril of her crew, and of irrepres- 
sible admiration of the splendid scene so suddenly unveiled 
to them. Broad masses of flame were bursting apparently 
from her gun-room, and waving over her quarter ; while 
thick clouds of smoke, glittering with sparks, shot upwards, 
and were borne far off to leeward by the breeze. iSvery rope 
in the ship was as distinctly traceable by the glare of the 
flame, as if it had been broad daylight. Her mainsail was 
hauled close up ; and her crew, seeming to have been aware 
that their only chance of rescue was in flight, had been 
actively employed in keeping her headsails wet with streams 
of water from the fire-engine, for it was very evident that no 
earthly power could check the progress of the flames abaft. 

The dark forms of the crew were seen hurrying about her 
decks, apparently employed in clearing away the boats, one 
of which soon pushed off from her, loaded till her gunnels 
were within a few inches of the water, and pulled slowly 
*o \vards them. 



" Shove off in the boats," shouted the captain of the 
Recovery, " and give way, my hearties, with a will." 

There was not a moment to lose: a spark caught the 
maintopsail ; the canvass, as dry as tinder with the excessive 
heat, was in a blaze in a moment ; and, with lightning-like 
rapidity, sail after sail on the mainmast caught fire, and, 
blazing for a moment with a broad and brilliant glare! 
shrivelled up, and flew in burning tatters to leeward. It 
was an awful sight, that pyramid of flame, rising as it were 
from the bosom of the deep. Not a sound was to be heard, 
but that of the rapidly-moving oars, and the rushing, moan- 
ing, and crackling sound of the flame. The men tugged at 
their oars in the silence of desperate energy ; life and death 
depended upon their exertions, and their voices seemed to be 
hushed by the extremity of the danger. In the meantime, 
sail was made upon the Recovery, and the breeze having 
partially died away, she crawled slowly up on the weather- 
quarter of the stranger, and again hove to. Boat after boat 
soon joined her, and, having deposited their freight, hastened 
back to the scene of danger for more. The greater part of 
the crew of the burning ship were soon safely bestowed on 
board of the Recovery, when Philip, who had already made 
two trips to the stranger with the boat under his command, 
pulled towards her again, to bring off the remainder of her 
men. He was fast approaching her when he was hailed by 
the officer of one of the other boats, who told him that he 
had taken off the last of the crew. He was just on the 
point of returning to his ship, when he heard sounds of 
remonstrance and entreaty from another boat which was 
slowly approaching, the crew seeming undecided whether to 
proceed or return ; and, at the same time, he observed by 
the light of the fire the officer of the boat struggling with a 
man in the stern-sheets, who was apparently endeavouring 
to jump overboard. 

" It would be madness downright madness to return," 
exclaimed the officer ; " I will not risk the lives of my men 
she will blow up immediately." 

" Let me go !" shouted the stranger ; " if I cannot save 
her, let me die with her." At this moment the stranger's 
eye caught sight of Philip, who was standing up in the boat, 
and, with a loud and startling cry, he shouted, " Philip, 
Philip, save her ! Save Catherine !" It was Edward 
Douglas ! At the same time a shrill scream came over the 
water, and a female form was seen at the gangway, waving 
her hands over her head, and wringing them in all the anguish 
of despair. For a moment Philip was paralyzed ; it was but 
for a moment. 

" We will save her or perish I" shouted he ; " what say 
you, my lads ?" The men answered him with a cheer as the 
boat sprung through the water under the impulse of their 
bending oars ; and a few vigorous strokes brought them 
alongside the blazing ship. It was but the work of a mo- 
ment, for Philip and one of the boat's crew to spring up the 
ship's side, and to lower the fainting Catherine into the 
arms of the men below. With careful haste she was laid 
down in the stern-sheets, and the water foamed beneath the 
bows of the boat as her gallant crew bent desperately to 
their oars. A handful of water sprinkled on Catherine's 
face revived her for a moment ; she opened her eyes upon her 
deliverer, and, murmuring " Philip !" closed them again with 
a shudder, and relapsed into unconsciousness. The moment 
the boat reached the Recovery, the ship's mainyard was 
filled, the lower tacks were hauled on board, the small sails 
set, and she stood to windward, to widen her distance. The 
precaution, however, was scarcely necessary, as the blazing 
wreck was drifting fast to leeward. Almost immediately 
after the boat had left her, she had paid off before the wind, 
the sails on the foremast caught fire, and in a very short 
time the blazing wreck of spars fell forward over the bows. 
AIL eyes were now eagerly directed towards her, to watch the 
finale of the catastrophe. They were not kept long in EUS- 



22 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



pense : a dense cloud of smoke burst from her fore- hatchway, 
followed by a rush of bright flame, and a loud and deafening 
explosion, and then all was darkness the hull had disap- 
peared, and not a vestige of the unfortunate vessel remained, 
except the fragments of the wreck, which fell far and wide, 
pattering and hissing in the water. 

It was with a feeling of breathless awe and silent thanks- 
giving that the rescued crew gazed upon the scene ; and 
many a cheek among them was blanched with shuddering 
horror at the thought of the miserable fate they had so pro- 
videntially and narrowly escaped. The most daring and 
reckless among them were sobered for a time, and many a 
half-suppressed expression of thankfulness to an overruling 
Providence, burst from lips to which oaths and curses had 
been but too familiar. As soon as all was over, sail was 
made upon the Recovery, the watch was called out, and 
arrangements were made for the accommodation of the unex- 
pected addition to her crew. The name of the unfortunate 
ship was the Victory a fine vessel of six hundred tons. 
The fire had been occasioned by the negligence of the 
steward, who, while unpacking a case of wine, had left a 
light burning in the after orlop, which had set fire to the 
loose straw, from whence the flame was soon communicated 
to the spirit-room. 

" All that men could do, we did," said the captain, when 
telling the story ; " but, from the first, I had no hope of 
saving the ship, and slight was our chance of escape in the 
boats. When the sound of your gun readied us, it was as 
a messenger of hope a promise of rescue ; and three cheers 
burst from our crew, as we put our helm up, and stood 
away to join you. My men behaved nobly ; with death 
staring them in the face, they never for a moment failed in 
their duty, or flinched from the danger, and exerted them- 
selves to the utmost to keep the fire under, and to prevent 
its communicating to the sails. Thanks to a merciful Pro- 
vidence, and to you, its gallant agents, we have been rescued 
from a dreadful doom !" 

In the meantime, our friend Philip had hastened to the 
cabin which had been appropriated to Edward Douglas, and, 
knocking at the door, was immediately admitted. 

" Philip !" exclaimed Edward, grasping his hand, while 
the tears stood in his eyes, and his voice trembled with 
emotion ; " my dear, my gallant deliverer ! what an awful 
fate have you saved us from ! If I had lost my child, how 
valueless would have been my own preservation ! To you, 
under Heaven, I owe both: how can I express my gratitude?" 

" Oh, speak not thus to me, dear sir ; I but did my duty, 
and am I not already more than repaid ? But how is Miss 
Douglas ?" 

" Miss Douglas !" said Edward ; " cold and formal indeed ! 
Why not Catherine ? your Catherine ? Have you not 
earned a right to call her yours ?" 

Philip trembled, and turned pale ; and then, when the 
warm blood, rushing to his cheeks again, flushed them with 
emotion, he exclaimed 

" Oh, Mr Douglas ! My whole efforts, since we parted, 
have been to smother feelings and wishes which your words 
have again called into life." 

" And long may they live, my dear Philip ! my dear 
BOU I hope soon to call you. I will no longer strive against 
fate. You have saved Catherine's life ; and, if you still 
retain her love, you have a grateful father's full and free 
permission to avail yourself of it. For the rest, we will 
trust to Providence, and to the exertions of your own active 
and energetic spirit." 

" Mr Douglas," said Philip, " your kindness overpowers 
me. I would risk a thousand lives, if 1 had them, for such 
a recompense ; but I must not take advantage of your ex- 
cited feelings to obtain a boon, however dear to me, Avhich 
your prudence would deny. The same obstacles remain 
which at first existed. I am still poor and fiiendless; the 



obscurity of my birth has not been cleared up ; and, cir 
cumstanced as I am at present, ought I to avail myself of 
an accidental advantage, and of your too generous appreci- 
ation of it, to fetter the free choice of your daughter, whr 
probably may now see those obstacles with far different 
eyes than in her early days ?" 

" Better times may come, Philip ; and, in the meanwhile, 
my daughter's dowry will be su/Hcient to afford you both 
all the comforts, though not the luxuries of life ; your own 
energy and industry must do the rest. But you must con- 
sult Catherine on the subject gain her consent ; mine you 
have, without further condition, already." 

After a consultation with his officers, the captain of the 
Recovery deemed it expedient to put into the Cape ; and 
the ship's course was accordingly altered. The wind con- 
tinuing fair and steady, on the evening of the fourth day 
from the disaster she was close in with the coast ; and the 
breeze dying away, and a thick fog coming on, she was 
hove to for the night. The next morning the fog stiL 
continued nothing was to be seen of the land, though 
every eye was strained to penetrate the gloom, till at last 
the glad cry was heard from the mast-head " High land 
ahead, sir ! Close aboard of us !" All eyes were now 
turned upwards ; and there, frowning above the bank of 
fog, appeared the dark outline of the Table-land. The 
fog soon cleared off; and, in an hour or two, the ship rounded 
Green Point, and came to an anchor in Table Bay. After 
Edward Douglas and the rest of the passengers were 
landed at Cape Town, Philip, being second officer and 
idler, obtained leave of absence for a couple of days, and 
went on shore to join his friends. The boarding-houses 
were all crowded ; for there were several ships in the roads, 
one of which, full of passengers from Bengal, had arrived 
the day after the Recovery ; but Edward Douglas had con- 
trived to secure accommodation for Philip in the same house 
with himself. Several passengers by the newly arrived 
ship, had taken up their quarters there ; and, among them 
a fine-looking, elderly man, a General Fortescue of the 
Bengal army. This gentleman happened, on his first 
arrival, to be shewn into the room where Philip and 
Edward Douglas were conversing together. They both 
rose at his entrance, and he returned the salutation of the 
latter with the free and unembarrassed air of a man of the 
world; but, when he turned to Philip, he started, and 
gazed at him, for some moments, with a look so fixed and 
earnest as to call the colour into his cheek. 

" Excuse me, sir," said he, at length " excuse my in- 
voluntary rudeness. Your features awakened recollections 
of other times, and of long-lost and dearly-loved friends ; 
and, for the moment, my thoughts wandered into forget- 
fulness of the courtesy due to a stranger." 

" I hope at least, sir, that the recollections I recalled were 
no*, unpleasing ones ?" 

" When you have lived to my age, young sir. bitter ex.- 
per^nce will have taught you that the ' thread of life is 
wo/en of mingled yarn ;' and that shades of sorrow and 
disappointment may darken the brightest pictures in memory's 
retrospect. Few, very few, can look back to the past year^ 
of life with unmingled pleasure, or forward to the future 
with unmixed hope." 

Both Edward Douglas and Philip became greatly inter- 
ested in this new acquaintance, especially the latter, who in 
turn seemed to be the object of the General's almost exclusive 
attention. lie seemed to watch Philip's every movement 
with eager interest, often cast upon him earnest and inquir- 
ing looks, and would then, with a heavy sigh, withdraw his 
gaze, as if his features had recalled some faint and shadowy 
image of the past, which his memory was in vain endeavour 
ing to realize. 4. party was formed to visit the far-famed 
farm of Constantia, on which the well-known choice wine 
of that name is manufactured ; and the three friends set off 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



together on horseback, after breakfast, next morning. Genera 
Fortescue, notwithstanding the habitual shade of melanchoh 
which clouded his countenance, proved himself to be an 
animated and mosti-.t'recable companion. His mind was storec 
with varied knowledge, and his conversation was enlivenec 
with anecdotes of events and characters which had come 
under the personal observation of a keen andpenetratingmind 

" I know not how it is, Mr Douglas," said he, " but ] 
have not felt for years such a springiness of spirit as I ex- 
perience to-day. I suppose it is because this beautifu 
country recalls to my recollection our own dear England 
Suppose we dismount, and ramble for a while among the 
trees ; with our feet upon the soft grass, and under the cool- 
ing shade, our recollections of our distant home will return 
with greater warmth and freshness." 

This proposal was gladly acceded to by his companions , 
and, having given their horses to the care of their attendant, 
they wandered about for some time, and at last finding a 
grassy spot sheltered from the rays of the sun, they seated 
themselves, and entered into an animated and cheerful con- 
versation. 

" Pray, Mr Douglas," said General Fortescue, addressing 
himself to Philip, " is your father a Scotchman ? I should 
think so from the name." 

Philip coloured painfully ; and the General, perceiving his 
confusion, added, "Excuse the liberty I have taken in ask- 
ing the question it did not arise from idle curiosity. The 
dearest friend of my early days was a Douglas, and the name 
is connected in my remembrance with scenes in which I 
spent many of my happiest days, when hope gilded my 
visions of the future, alas ! only to deceive me. Yes, if 
Gavin Douglas still survives, I must find him out." 

" Gavin Douglas !" said Edward, in surprise ; " was he a 
Douglas of Eskhall?" 

" The same," replied he. 

" My father !" said Edward. 

" Is it possible ! And are you really the son of my dear- 
est and earliest friend ? Wonderful are the mysterious sym- 
pathies of nature ! How strangely was I attracted towards 
you both, but more especially towards your friend, whom I 
Wesume to be your younger brother ?" 

" No, he is not even a connexion, though I hope he soon 
will be one." 

" Then whose son is he ?" 

Philip, with cheeks glowing, and eyes flashing with vainly 
resisted emotion, answered, in rapid and passionate accents 

' ' The son of one who was ashamed to own him ; who 
deserted him in his infancy, and cast him shelterless upon 
the casual bounty of strangers ; the nameless son of a 
nameless father ; perhaps" and his eye fell, and his voice 
trembled " the offspring of shame, as of misfortune." 

" Never, Philip !" said Edward ; " the pure stream 
rises from the pure spring. Whoever your father may be, 
Ivere he the highest in the 'land, did he know his son, he 
Would be proud, not ashamed, to own him as such. But, as 
we have excited the General's curiosity, have you any ob- 
jection to my gratifying it by reciting the history of your 
life ?" 

Philip made a movement of assent ; and Edward pro- 
ceeded to give a rapid sketch of the events which we have 
already narrated, from the time of Philip's desertion down 
to his gallant conduct on board the Recovery. 

The General had listened to his narrative with breathless 
interest ; and, when it was concluded, asked, in a hurried 
and agitated manner 

" Was there no clue by which to trace his parentage ? 
No writing, or other notice of his birth ?" 

" Yes a paper, stating his name to be Philip, and that 
he was born of good family ; and a ring." 

" Here it is," said Philip, producing it. 

The moment the General's eyes glanced upon it, his 



cheek turned deadly pale, he leaned for a moment back- 
ward against a tree, and then, with an eager and trem- 
bling hand, he touched a spring at the back of the seal, 
and the shield flying open, the initials "P. & M. F." 
appeared eng^ved behind. 

u My son !" exclaimed the General, embracing Philip, 
while the tears poured down his cheeks "my long-lost 
Philip ! Merciful heaven ! I thank thee ! How blind I 
was, not to trace before, the resemblance to your sainted 
mother! The very eyes and forehead of 'my beloved 
Mary ! My son, my son ! This hour repays me for years 
saddened by the misery of uncertainty !" 

Philip, with tears of grateful joy, warmly returned the 
embraces of his newly-found parent, and, even in that moment 
of agitation, his thoughts gladly reverted to the removal of 
that which had been the principal obstacle to Catherine, 
the mystery of his birth. Edward Douglas, much affected 
by the unexpected recognition, had retired to some little 
distance, to leave the father and son to the free expression 
I of their mutual feelings ; but he was soon recalled to his 
former station by the General, who, shaking him heartily by 
the hand, said 

" Son of my dearest friend, I owe it to myself and to my 
boy to narrate to you the history of my past life, and to account 
to you both, for what must appear my culpable and un- 
pardonable neglect of him whose uncertain fate has caused 
me so many bitter moments." 

The tale which followed we give in our own words, as our 
space will not allow us to be so diffuse as was the excited 
narrator. 

The father of General Fortescue was a man of high family 
fend extensive landed property in Ireland ; proud of his only 
son, but prouder still of the ancient name and large posses- 
sions which he fondly hoped that son was destined to in- 
herit. His mother had died in his early childhood, and his 
education was prosecuted under the superintendence of a 
worthy and excellent tutor, a Scotchman of the name of 
Campbell. The elder Fortescue, who had himself been 
brought up at Eton, and who had a strong prejudice in favour 
of public education, sent his boy, when he was sufficiently 
old, to finish his education at that college. There it was 
his good fortune to be associated with Gavin Douglas, who 
was two years his senior, and immeasurably his superior in 
talent and character. Mild and gentle in demeanour, but 
firm and uncompromising in principle, Gavin was generally 
respected and beloved ; his society was courted by all his fel- 
low students but he distinguished young Fortescue with 
his particular friendship ; and to the influence of that friend- 
ship, the latter was indebted for all the better traits that 
adorned his character. Philip, in his letters, had often written 
in the most glowing terms of youthful enthusiasm, of his 
talented and estimable friend ; and his father, ever anxious 
to administer to his gratification, invited Gavin, whose pa- 
rents were at the time on the Continent, to spend his vacation 
at Mount Fortescue, where he spent some weeks, delighted 
with his hospitable reception, but surprised at the luxury 
and profusion that surrounded him. But the scene was 
soon to change. Fortescue had been for years living in 
a style of splendid and careless hospitality, which had 
from time to time called forth ineffectual remonstrances 
from his faithful steward, and at last, affairs were brought 
to a crisis by the villany of one for whom he had become 
security to a very considerable amount. To meet the de- 
mands of his creditors, his estates were sold ; and, with about 
ten thousand pounds saved from their wreck, he retired to a 
small town on the shores of the Frith of Clyde, and, having 
procured a cadetship for his boy, sent him out te Bengal. 
This was a severe trial to old Fortescue. The loss of his 
estates he could have borne with comparative firmness, as 
far as his own comforts were concerned ; but his pride as well 
as his affection was wounded, when he thought that his sou 



24 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



would be obliged to seek in a foreign land that fortune 
which, but for his careless negligence and profusion, he would 
have inherited in his own. Philip, full of the energy of 
youthful hope, was but little affected by the change in 
his father's circumstances, for the future was to him 
bright of promise ; but he was greatly grieved at parting 
with his father, whose many excellent qualities had en- 
deared him to his son's affection, and whose chief weak- 
ness was his high aristocratic pride. After ten years' 
residence in India, young Fortescue returned home on 
furlough, with the rank of Captain, and found his father 
much altered in person, but equally unchanged in affection 
towards him, and in that pride of birth which had ever been 
his besetting sin one of the fruits of which was, frequent 
invectives against ill-assorted marriages between those whose 
rank in life was unequal. After staying with his father for 
a short time, Captain Fortescue hastened to pay a long pro- 
mised visit to his friend Gavin Douglas, whose wife had 
lately died, and who was now living with his family at Esk- 
hall. On his return, Gavin accompanied him, and remained 
for several weeks at Mr Fortescue's. During one of their 
rambles in the neighbourhood, they discovered, accidentally, 
that a daughter of Mr Campbell, Fortescue's former tutor, 
was living near them, under the protection of a maternal 
aunt. The young men soon sought and obtained an intro- 
duction to these ladies, by whom they were most cordially 
received, as friends of the departed Campbell. Mary 
Campbell was a beautiful, highly-accomplished girl of 
eighteen, perfectly natural and unaffected, and unconscious 
of the power of her charms. Not so young Fortescue. In 
vain did his more quick-sighted and prudent friend, Douglas, 
warn him of his danger ; in vain did he remind him of the 
obstacle which his father's pride would offer to the prosper- 
ous indulgence of his growing passion : he renewed his 
visits day after day ; and, though he had not spoken of love, 
his heart was no longer his own. She who was ever present 
to his thoughts, became naturally the frequent theme of his 
conversation, until his father remarked it, and scornfully 
and bitterly taunted him with his love for one so much his 
inferior in rank. 

" Think no more of her, Philip," said he ; " for, with my 
consent, you shall never degrade yourself by marrying one 
so much beneath you." 

It was easier, however, for the father to command than 
for the son to obey: love prevailed over duty, and the 
young people were privately married ; the only persons in 
the secret being the minister who officiated, and Mrs 
Morgan, Mary's maternal aunt. When the time of Mary's 
confinement approached, she removed with her aunt to 
an obscure village in a distant part of the country, where 
she died in giving birth to the hero of our tale. Her 
husband was inconsolable, and it was some time before 
he could bear to look upon the innocent cause of his be- 
reavement. After performing the last duties to his wife, 
and witnessing the baptism of the infant, Philip, whom he 
left under the care of his grand-aunt, Captain Fortescue 
went over to the Continent, hoping by travel to dissipate his 
grief. For a few months he heard regularly of his boy's 
welfare from Mrs Morgan ; but soon her correspondence 
ceased ; and, alarmed by her long-continued silence, he 
hastened home, to ascertain the cause. On his arrival in 
Scotland, he heard of the sudden and dangerous illness of 
his father. He just reached home in time to attend his 
deathbed ; and, by his unexpected return and filial affections, 
cheered his last moments, and received his dying blessing. 
But another trial awaited him. He set off as soon as pos- 
sible to the village where Mrs Morgan resided, little dream- 
ing of the sad intelligence that awaited him. She had 
died about six weeks before, bequeathing all her small pro- 
perty to little Philip, who had always been considered as 
her adopted son, and the orphan child of a distant relation. 



The morning after her decease, it was discovered that the 
nurse and child were missing, and that an escritoire, which 
was known to have contained a large sum of money, had 
been broken open and ransacked. Active search had been 
immediately made after them at first ; but was discontinued 
when a woman's bonnet, known to have belonged to the 
nurse, and part of a child's dress, were found on the banks 
of a neighbouring swollen stream. Poor Fortescue was in 
despair ; but at length a gleam of hope broke upon him. 
The bodies had not been found ; and his child might still 
be in existence. Advertisements were inserted in all the 
papers, offering a large reward for the discovery of the in- 
fant; but in vain. The heart-broken father lost all hope; 
and, settling his affairs, hastened again to the East. As is 
too often the case, Fortune smiled upon one who had ceased 
to value her favours ; and he rose steadily and gradually to 
the highest grades of his profession. The object of envy to 
others, he was miserable in himself. His thoughts brooded 
over the past ; and, at last, after nearly a thirty years' re- 
sidence abroad, his heart yearned to revisit before his death 
the scene of his past joys and sorrows ; and he was thus 
far on his voyage when Providence threw in his way his 
long-lost son. 

When the General had finished his narrative, the day 
was too far advanced, and the feelings of the party were too 
much interested otherwise, to allow them to prosecute their 
intended visit to Constantia ; they therefore returned to 
Cape Town, where Catherine was anxiously expecting their 
return. 

" Catherine, my love," said her father, " I expect a 
friend to visit me almost immediately. He is a young man 
of wealth and rank ; and I beg you will give him a cordial 
welcome, as you must look upon him as your future hus- 
band, and think no more of Philip Douglas." 

" Sir !" said she, with the colour fading in her cheek ; 
" forget Philip ! Never I" 

At this moment the door opened, and a servant announced, 
" Mr Fortescue." Great was Catherine's surprise, when 
she raised her eyes, and beheld Philip. 

" Philip !" exclaimed she ; then, looking timidly and in . 
quiringly around, she added " But where is Mr Fortes- 
cue ?" 

" Here he stands, my dear Catherine ; no longer the 
foundling Philip Douglas, but Philip Fortescue, the son of 
one whom he is proud to call father. Next to the joy of 
discovering him, is that of finding that you have bestowed 
your love on one whose birth will cast no discredit upon 
yours." 

" The heart acknowledges no distinctions of rank or for- 
tune," replied she, blushing ; " whether Douglas or Fortes- 
cue, you would still be my own dear Philip the friend of 
my childhood the preserver of my life." 

"Nobly spoken, my fair young friend," said General 
Fortescue, who had entered unperceived. " Although I 
am not yet your father, allow me to claim a father's privi- 
lege." And he fondly kissed the blushing Catherine. 

But we must hasten to the conclusion of our voyage, 
and of our tale. The following announcement appeared two 
months afterwards in the papers " Married, at Eskhall, in 
Dumfriesshire, on the 13th inst., Philip, eldest son of 
General Fortescue of the Bengal army, to Catherine, daugh- 
ter of .Edward Douglas, Esq of Calcutta." 




WILSON'S 

arratrttt'o arg, anti Emag 

TALES OF THE BORDERS, 

AND OF SCOTLAND. 






SKETCHES FROM A SURGEON'S NOTE-BOOK. 
CHAP. V. THIS CHERRY-STONE. 

I HAVE always been anxious to avoid giving publicity to 
details of my profession which might harrow the feelings 
of mankind than which, I believe, nothing is more easy 
of accomplishment by those who are, as I am, in the daily 
exercise of painful operations on the human body. Pain 
has been gifted to man as an inheritance, so ample, in so 
many forms and complexions, in so many directions, that 
we have only to think, and we feel it we have only to look, 
and we see it we have only to speak or act, and we rouse 
it. Yet so wonderfully are we constituted, that we do not 
hate it more than we love it ; and, while we are all engaged 
in the general endeavours to banish it and conceal it, we 
have such a craving appetite for it, in the second-hand form of 
narrative, that we gloat over pictures of suffering with the 
feelings of an epicure, and seek and call for the stimulus of 
sighs, and groans, and tears, with an avidity only equalled 
by our desire of personal happiness. A final cause might be 
traced in this extraordinary feature of the human mind, if 
we were curious to know the ways of the Almighty, and 
the modes He has had recourse to, to fit us for life and 
prepare us for death ; but this is not my object : nor, while I 
continue to draw pictures from life charged with a moral 
that may instruct, truth that may edify, or results that may 
shew that there is good in evil, and wonderful deliverances 
from, apparently, irremediable wo is it my desire to 
minister to the mysterious appetite for sorrow, according to 
its wants, or the abilities which a long experience might 
enable me to exercise with greater effect than many sensi- 
tive minds might approve. 

Some time ago, I had been on a visit to a neighbouring 
town, where I had been called to give my professional 
advice to a patient who had more faith to place in me than 
in his neighbouring practitioners, and was returning with 
the stage-coach, along with a number of other passengers, 
when my attention was directed to a poor woman, sitting 
by me, with a young girl in her lap, apparently in great dis- 
tress. The face of the invalid, whoappeared to be about twelve 
years of age, was covered by a white napkin, which her mother, 
with a careful hand, lifted from time to time, to see how 
her daughter (for such she turned out to be) was affected by 
the motion of the vehicle. Two or three people around, 
from the same town, and who seemed to know the history 
of the pair, evinced a greater degree of anxiety and curiosity 
about the state of the poor girl, than might have been ex- 
pected from the effects of a mere ordinary case of illness, on 
the minds of people of ordinary sensibilities. They spoke 
to each other in a low tone ; and I could hear my own name 
mentioned in such a manner as indicated plainly that they 
did not know that he they were talking of was sitting 
beside them. Though I had not been a professional man, 
and had not had my curiosity roused by the mention of my 
name, I could not have refrained from inquiring into the 
state of the little victim of so much disease, and the object 
of so much solicitude, and, turning round, I asked the mother 
if she would allow me to remove the napkin, and look at 
her whose face it covered. She assented with ft ready, 
160. VOL. IV. 



anticipative willingness; and I lifted softly the white cover- 
ing. The sight was extraordinary, even to me, who was in 
the habit of daily seeing strange faces, strangely marked by 
the powers of the fell fiends that feed on the lacerated 
feelings of pain-stricken mortals. The girl, though twelve 
years of age, was reduced to the size and weight of a child 
of half her Jittle period of life. Her face was as white as 
the snow-coloured covering which shaded it; her eyelids 
were closed as if she were in a deep slumber ; her lips, wide 
apart, were as white as her cheek ; and, notwithstanding of 
the destruction of all the natural lineaments of her counte- 
nance, there was such a regularity, or rather beauty of out- 
line, lying in the calmness and composure of what one of 
fancy might conceive of a sleeping sylph, that I felt my 
sympathies more strongly roused by what may be termed 
the poetical accidents of the patient than could have been 
effected by the mere aspect of a cruel disease. 

As I sat looking at the face of the half-lifeless being, and 
musing a little on the supposed nature of her complaint, 
previously to an inquiry at her mother for the particulars 
of her case, I saw rise, on a sudden, and as if by the 
power of some heart-born impulse, a feeling throughout all 
the fine attenuated muscles, that changed the angelic quiet- 
ness of her countenance into the shrinking and contorted 
motions of a pain that seemed to bring despair on its wings, 
as a colleague that should strike as soon as its own pang 
was inflicted. I could see, also, that there was mixed with 
the expression of pain an indication of terror, as if the poor 
victim apprehended some onset of the enemy that had 
already laid her so low, similar to what she had been 
already in the habit of experiencing. In an instant it came; 
the whole chest, throat, and face were grasped by a con- 
vulsive spasm ; and a cough, shrill and piercing, as if the 
breath passed with difficulty through the windpipe, accom- 
panied by the long drawback of apparent croop, that sounded 
like the yell of a strangling dog, struck our ears, and pro- 
duced a feeling of consternation among those who were, as 
yet, better acquainted with her extraordinary case than I 
was. I had never experienced anything of the same kind ; 
for the symptoms that separated her complaint, whatever it 
was, from the most painful diseases of the windpipe known 
to us, were at first sight apparent. The sound prevented 
me from getting intelligence from her mother, who was, 
besides, under such alarm and anxiety, that she paid little 
attention to those around her. The rattling of the coach 
was a great aggravation of the attack ; and the noise of a 
grating wheel, not unlike that wrung from the poor victim, 
mixed with it, and rendered the scene frightful. After 
lasting about ten minutes, the harrowing symptoms stopped 
suddenly, and, in a few minutes, I saw again before me the 
same placid countenance, with the closed eyelids, and the 
same lifeless appearance I had witnessed before the attack 
came on. 

I now got an account from the mother of the cause of 
her daughter's distress. About two months previously, the 
girl had been eating cherries ; and one of the stones having 
been involuntarily thrown back into her throat, she had 
endeavoured to prevent the operation of swallowing it, 
from a fear that it would injure her, and thus produced an 
irregular action among the muscles of deglutition, wluco 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



precipitated the hard substance into the windpipe. The 
first effects of this accident were grievous in the extreme ; 
for the irritability of that exquisitely tender part of the 
body, roused the muscles to efforts of expectoration, and 
brought on fits of the most intense coughing, which lasted 
until the strength of the body having failed, the irritability 
of the passage died, through the pure inanition of the ex- 
hausted system. Every energy prostrated, she would be 
for a time quiet, until the pabulum of the irritability was 
again supplied by the mysterious operation of nature, when 
the same painful spasms of the muscles were renewed, with 
another long fit of coughing every redrawn breath forcing 
its way with a shrill sound, and suggesting the fear that she 
was every moment on the eve of being choked. This was 
again succeeded by a calm, to be followed by a similar ex- 
acerbation ; and thus was her life reduced to an alternation 
of agony, and rest without peace ; and all the time the re- 
ductive process of famine (for she could scarcely swallow a 
morsel without the greatest pain) went on, till she was 
reduced to a perfect skeleton. Having been the pride of 
her parents, as well from her beauty as her amiable mind 
and manners, she was watched night and day with a solici- 
tude scarcely less painful than her own dreadful condition ; 
and, as both the doctors of the small town seemed irresolute 
as to the course to be pursued, the victim was left lying on 
her back, and suffering those violent and incessant attacks, 
for the period of six weeks, without any effectual effort 
being made for her relief. At last, however, the urgent 
nature of the case, which interested almost all the inhabit- 
ants of the place, forced the medical men to try, at last, 
the only evident operation that could be of any service ; 
and an incision was made into the windpipe, with a view to 
get hold of the stone. Whether it was that they had cal- 
culated on wrong data, in regard to the locality of the pec- 
cant and cruel intruder, or whether the operation was 
otherwise unskilfully performed, I knoAv not ; but the re- 
sult was, that, after putting her to so intolerable pain, they 
were obliged to sew up the opening they had made, and 
again resign her to her miserable fate. Many of the neigh- 
bours got angry at this issue, and blamed the surgeons ; but 
no one would lend a helping hand to pay the expense of 
bringing a more successful operator to the spot ; so that all 
was vain reproof, with still the same fate to the interesting 
sufferer. At last, the mother, who could stand no longer 
the appalling sight of her daughter suffering worse than 
thousand deaths, while a remedy on earth could be found, 
had come to the resolution of travelling by the coach, to 
the residence of one who might, by an extensive experience, 
be supposed to be able to yield relief; and, having got a 

letter of introduction to Dr , (myself,) she was thus 

far on her way to my residence. 

I heard the poor woman's story ; and, when I took the 
letter from her, and told her that I was the individual she 
was travelling to, I could discover that her face was on the 
instant lighted up with hope ; and even the poor sufferer on 
her knee lifted up her eyelids, and fixed her clear blue eye 
on my face, with a piteous supplication that I shall never 
forget. I told the mother that she should have come to 
me long before ; but that she was not yet too late for that 
I had strong hopes of being able to extricate the stone, and 
restore her child to health. My words fell on the ear of 
the patient; and I could see by the tear in her eye the 
only indication she could give of her gratitude, for she was 
under a continual terror of moving a single muscle of her 
face that she understood perfectly what I said. The 
passengers seemed to be as much moved as those more 
nearly interested, and turned their eyes on me as if I had 
been one gifted beyond ordinary mortals with the means 
of benefiting mankind. We got forward, luckily, without 
another attack of the ruthless foe that haunted the inno- 
cent victim with such unremitting hatred; and, on our 



arrival at our place of destination, I made arrangements 
for the mother and daughter being lodged in a friend's house 
not far from my own, that my patient might be as much 
as possible under my eye, until I deemed it a proper time 
(for she required strength to perform the operation which 
I meditated. 

I considered well wnat I had to do, and had no doubt of 
my success ; but I was met by some untoward disadvant- 
ages. I found that there was no possibility of imparting 
to her strength the incessant reductive workings of her 
spasms counteracting all my energies in this direction, and 
compelling me to a speedy application of my means of 
salvation. The prior wound had not been sufficiently cured, 
and the pain she had suffered under the mangling hands 
of her first tormentors left such a vivid impression on the 
tortured mind of the sufferer that, anxious as she was to 
get the stone extracted, and to breathe again freely the ail 
of heaven, she shuddered at the thought of being subjected 
to the knife of the operator. I used every seductive artifice 
to soothe her fears ; I shewed her the small instrument 
with which I would give her peace and health, and painted 
to her fancy the happiness she would again enjoy in romping 
among the green fields as in former days, freed from the 
terror of the slightest motion that now enslaved her. She 
lay and heard me, opened her eyes, sighed, and shut them 
again with a slight shake of her head, and a shudder, as if 
all arguments had failed ; then, as I rose, threw after me a 
look of supplication, as if she wished me to try again to 
bring her to the point of resolution to free herself from 
the dreaded enemy that held her so firmly in his relentles fc 
grasp. She little knew that she was utterly powerless 
to resist a child might have held her hands, while the 
operation was performed, against her will ; but I wished 
to avoid compulsion ; though I feared that, if she v/ould 
not consent, I would be necessitated, from the gradual 
decay of the little remaining strength she had, to save 
her quickly, against her own fears of the means of her sal- 
vation. 

In the afternoon of the same day I had appointed to 
perform the operation against her will, her mother came to 
me, and said that the invalid had made signs to her that she 
would now submit herself to my power. I lost no time in 
getting my assistants, and waiting upon her before the 
resolution should depart ; but, what was my disappointment 
to find that she had, in the meantime, been seized with an 
attack of coughing, so much more serious than any she yet 
had, that I expected every moment to see her die of suffo. 
cation. Her mother sat beside her, weeping and looking on 
her with an expression of agony ; and the little sufferer 
presented to me such an appearance of emaciation and 
weakness, that I doubted if I could venture' to touch her 
with the knife, even if her relentless foe allowed her once 
more to escape from his grasp. The coughing and spasms 
again ceased; but she lay as one dead. I could scarcely 
feel a pulse in her, and her pale, beautiful face was as 
calm and benign as if she had been soothed by a divine 
aspiration, in place of being tortured the moment before by 
an agony that twisted every muscle of her countenance. 
She lay in this state about ten minutes, at the end of which 
time she again opened her eyes, and made a faint sign to 
her mother that she was prepared. I lost no time. In a 
moment I had made the incision ; and so well had I 
calculated the locality of the stone, that I was able to 
seize it on the very first insertion of the nippers. I drew 
it out, and held it up to her eye. The sight of it operated 
like magic. She started up on her feet, and running a few 
paces, while the blood flowed plentifully down her white 
throat, clapped her hands and cried " It's out it's out! " 
She would have fallen instantly ; for the impulse that had 
overcome her weakness was like a shock from a galvanic 
battery, that moves and in an instant leaver all dead as before, 



TALES OF THE B011DE11S. 



2? 



1 seized her, just as slic was falling ; and, having placed her 
again on the sofa, sewed up the wound. Before I left hci 
I saw her breathing freely the unobstructed air. Her blue 
eye was illuminated with joy ; and such was the immediate 
effect of giving a free passage to the breath of life, that one 
might have marked the rapid change of returning health 
going on throughout her whole system. In a short time 
she recovered, and returned home. 

I saw this interesting patient three years afterwards 
a fine, blooming young woman. 



CHAP. VI. THE HENWIFE. 

I HAVB already, in a former paper, made some general ob- 
servations on that extraordinary disease, hypochondria; 
and narrated a case where it presented the phasis of a 
false conception of the existing condition of external cir- 
cumstances affecting the patient, accompanied by a terror 
of their operation on his fortunes and prosperity. That 
is a common case ; and I conceive that it argues a lesser 
derangement of the cerebral functions, than where there 
occurs a total overturn of the conception of personal identity ; 
and the conviction of self passes into a belief that the 
patient is actually something else than himself nay, some- 
thing else than a man at all and even something else 
than an organized being. In both cases, there is, of course, 
a false conviction, and so far they range under the same 
head ; yet, as the conception of identity is among the first, 
and strongest, and steadiest of all the states or acts of the 
mind, it may be presumed to require a stronger deranging 
impulse, to effect the overthrow of an idea that often 
remains unimpaired amidst the very wrecks of the intellect, 
than to produce those conditions of ordinary partial de- 
rangement of the rational or perceptive powers which 
daily come under our observation. Yet and it is a curious 
feature of these pitiful states of the diseased mind, and 
one that argues ill for the superiority of man over the 
passing humours of a fluctuating temperament that, where- 
ever there is a false conception of identity, passing into an 
idea that the patient is something different from himself, 
he becomes an involuntary humourist ; and, while the 
ordinary maniac brings tears to the eyes of the shud- 
dering beholders, he (in his character of an animal or piece 
of inert matter) produces nothing but a tickling sensation 
of exquisite ludicrousness, passing often into broad laughter, 
certainly the greatest enemy of pity. Now, I approach 
a case of this kind with feelings entirely different ; and 
while I thus confess that I can contemplate no state of 
derangement but with pity, I shall leave a grave narrative 
of an extraordinary instance of false conviction true in 
all its details* to be read and relished according to the 
fancies and humours of the public. 

In a large old land of houses in Street, commonly 

known by the name of the Ark, and occupied by a number 
of small families in the lower grade of society, an old 

woman, Margaret B , had lived for many years, chiefly 

upon the bounty of a noble family in the country, whom 
she had served in the capacity of poulterer vulgariter, 
henwife. She had been for some time ailing ; and I was 
requested by those who took an interest in her, to pay her 
occasionally a visit, in the course of my professional rounds 
in the neighbourhood of her dwelling. I could discover, 
for a time, no marked complaint about her. Living lonely, 
she had fallen into a lowness of spirits, which, as one of 
her neighbours informed me, was most effectually removed 
or ameliorated for a time, by a recurrence to the remem- 
bered employments of her former yean.., She was, in 



* We understand that another case of human incubation occurred, 
somewhere about the Crosscauseway or Simon SquarCj of Edinburgh, 
m Dr Gregory's time. Editor. 



particular, curiously addicted to thinking and speaking 

of her former extensive establishment of fowls, at - 

House; and made reference to speckled favourites, by 
special name, as if she had treated them by distinctions of 
superiority, beauty, and utility, after the 'manner of fond 
mothers, who indulge a habit of fantastic favouritism 
among their children. I myself noticed this garruloua 
peculiarly ; but, accustomed to all manner of eccentricities, 
as well healthy as morbid, I attributed her freaks to a 
foolish fancy, that sought for food among the cherished 
recesses of a fond memory of the past. By degrees, how- 
ever, she underwent a considerable change; falling into 
moods of silent melancholy, which lasted for days, and 
rising from them, to luxuriate, with a fervour that engrossed 
her whole soul, on the favourite theme, which seemed to 
present every day new attractions for her moody mind. 

As I passed one day along the passage that led to her 
humble dwelling, her nearest neighbour, a favourite gossip 
met me, and whispered, secretly and mysteriously, into my 
ear, that old Margaret, as she called her, had been, during 
the whole day, occupied with the regulation of an imagined 
establishment of her old favourites, the hens. She had 
been calling them to her by name ; using all the techni- 
calities of the domestic fowler's vocabulary ; driving some 
of the more forward away, and endearingly encouraging 
the backward favourites to participate in the meal of 
scattered barley she threw upon the floor. The woman 
added, that she feared she was mad, and yet she laughed 
at the symptoms of her imputed insanity. I went forward, 
and, on opening the door, saw good evidence of the truth 
of my informant's story, in the grain that lay about in 
every direction ; but the occupation was gone, the indus- 
trious fowler had sunk into a fit of melancholy, and sat, with a 
drooping head and heavy eye, looking into the fire. She 
was dogged and silent ; and, though I touched gently the 
irritable chord, I got no response ; the illusion was gone, 
and had left nothing in her mind but the darkness of a 
morbid melancholy, which I possessed no secret to remove. 
This state of gloom lasted, I understood for I could not 
get her visited in the meantime for three days, during 
which she scarcely spoke to her neighbours, whose curiosity, 
roused by her previous conduct, supplied the place of the 
kindness which ought to have stimulated charitable atten- 
tions. At the end of that time, she awoke from her dream, 
and spoke with her accustomed sense on any subject that 
was started in her presence ; but, during the night, she was 
heard again busy in her old occupation of feeding her 
feathered family ; and several of the neighbours had even 
been at the pains to leave their beds and listen to her one- 
sided dialogue and strange proceedings, as a matter of in- 
tense curiosity. I got a second report of these acts from 
the same neighbours, and very properly set the patient 
down for one of those unfortunate beings, too common in 
our land, who are afflicted with temporary derangement, 
which sometimes shews itself in the form of a fancied 
presence of some familiar object, and a passing into a con- 
dition or position occupied in some prior part of the life of 
the afflicted individual. These objects are too common to 
excite in us any particular curiosity ;' and, having made a 
report to those interested in her, that I feared she was 
subject to temporary fits of insanity, I left to them the 
choice of the ordinary expedients in such cases. 

Some weeks afterwards, the neighbour whom I had 
formerly seen, called and told me that the patient had not 
been attended to as her situation required, and that she 
had passed into a new condition, so extraordinary and in- 
credible that she could not trust her tongue to tell it to a 
rational being, and therefore urged me to come and witness 
for the truth of what no mortal would otherwise believe, 
by the evidence of my eyes. I asked her to explain what 
she meant ; but she replied by a laugh, and went away, 



28 



TALES OF THE BORDERS 



stating that, unless I visited hei soon, I might lose one of 
the most strange sights I had ever witnessed in the course 
of all my extended and long practice. I had seen so much 
of the wild vagaries of distempered minds, so many meta- 
morphoses of fancied identities, and such extraordinary 
instances of imaginary metempsychoses and other freaks in 
lunatics, that I felt no more curiosity on the subject of the 
woman's excited report than I do in ordinary cases ; but, in 
about an hour afterwards, I found leisure to call and make 
a proper judgment of what might, after all, be a matter 
exaggerated by the clouds of ignorance. 

As I proceeded up the stair and along the passage, I 
observed several heads peeping out at me, and heard titters 
and whispers in all directions, as if the neighbours were 
all a-tiptoe with curiosity. to enjoy the doctor's surprise at 
what he was to behold. The woman who had called me 
came running out from the middle of three or four old 
gossips like herself, and, holding away her head to conceal 
a suppressed laugh, perhaps mixed with a little affected 
shame, led the way before me to the patient's room. I was 
grave all the while, as becomes my profession ; and I was, 
besides, displeased, as I ever am, when I see the misfortunes 
of my fellow-creatures made the subject of ill-timed mirth, 
merely because the most dreadful of all the visitations of 
man puts on grotesque appearances and ludicrous imper- 
sonations of fantastic characters. 

When I entered, I observed no one in the room. The 
patient's seat by the fire was empty. A strange noise met 
my ear " Cluck, cluck, cluck !" which the woman re- 
quested me to pause and listen to. It seemed to me a 
human imitation of the sounds of the feathered mother of 
a young brood in our barn-yards. I was astonished, and 
felt my curiosity rise as high as my conductress might de- 
sire. She proceeded to a dark corner of the room, where I 
saw a large tub half-filled with straw, with the poor victim 
sitting in it, in such a position that her head and shoulders 
only could be observed. I now ascertained that the strange 
sounds came from the occupant of the old seat of Diogenes ; 
yet still my understanding was at fault. I stood and gazed 
at the spectacle before me, while my conductress seemed to 
enjoy my perplexity, and I heard the repressed laughter of 
those in the passage who had come near enough to listen to 
our proceedings. 

"That is a strange seat, Margaret," said I. "What 
means this ?" 

I was answered by a repetition of the same extraordinary 
sounds " Cluck, cluck, cluck !" 

I looked gravely at the neighbour for a serious explana- 
tion. I could see no humour in the melancholy indications 
of drivelling madness, and added a stern expression to the 
gravity with which I intended to subdue a cruel and ill- 
timed levity. The woman felt awed and abashed, but it was 
only for a moment ; she stooped down, and, putting her hands 
among the straw upon which the invalid sat, pulled out a 
couple of eggs. A louder repetition of the sounds, " cluck, 
cluck," followed, as if the incubator felt an instinctive 
parental anger at the temerity of the spoiler of her inchoate 
progeny. To satisfy her humour, the woman replaced the 
eggs, and the cluck ceased. 

" There are two dozen of these beneath her/' said the 
Lord 's gamekeeper brought them in to her 



woman. 



four days ago, to serve for food to her. I saw her go out 
for the straw, and she borrowed the tub from me. She 
built her nest on the night afterwards, and she commenced 
sitting there immediately when it was completed, so that 
she has already sat three days and nights. We heard the 
' cluck,' through the partition ; and, upon coming in, found 
her as you now see her." 

"Has she got any food?" said I, with a still graver aspect, as 
I saw my informant watching for a smile to repay her for her 
extraordinary information, and keep her in countenance- 



" Nothing but some peas of bailey," replied the woman, 
with something of seriousness assumed with great difficulty. 
' See here." 

And she pointed to a small cap placed by the side of the 
tub, in which some of the grain mentioned was contained, 
and alongside of it was a small vessel of water. 

The truth was now fully apparent. A false conviction of 
as extraordinary a nature as I had yet witnessed had taken 
entire possession of the invalid's mind. It was not difficult, 
on ordinary and vulgar data, to account for the peculiar turn 
of the malady in the case of this woman, because all her life 
had been spent among fowls ; yet I must bear my professional 
testimony to the fact, that, among the many instances of false 
conceptions of identity I had previously witnessed, and 
have since seen, I never knew a case where the peculiarity 
of the conviction had any relation whatever to the prior 
habits of mind or body of the invalid. The deranging power, 
whatever it is, has often no respect to pre-existing habits or 
associations ; but, on the contrary, seems to delight in a capri- 
cious triumph over all the ordinary acts of the mind, and 
delights to introduce an imagined form and character as 
widely opposed as the antipodes to the prior conceptions of 
the unfortunate individual. The case before me was, there- 
fore, in this respect interesting ; for as to the grotesque 
conditions of the metamorphosis, though calculated to pro- 
duce an extraordinary effect on vulgar minds, I looked upon 
them, philosophically, as only another instance of the end- 
less variety of melancholy changes to which our frail natures 
are exposed. 

I proceeded to ask my informant if any means had been 
taken to draw the invalid from her position, and got for 
answer that several of the neighbours had come in and en- 
deavoured to prevail upon her to renounce her charge ; but 
that, having failed in their efforts, they had on several occa- 
sions removed her by force, and in opposition to strenuous 
struggles, and extraordinary sounds of mixed anger and 
pitiful sorrow. No sooner, however, were their backs turned, 
than she flew to her seat, and manifested the greatest satis- 
faction, by peculiar noises, at being again reinstated in her 
charge of her inchoate brood, which she was terrified would, 
by growing cold, be deprived of the principle of vitality she 
was busy in communicating to them. I tested, by my own 
efforts, her instinctive force of affection, by taking her by the 
arms and endeavouring to remove her ; but she sent up such 
a pitiful cry, mixed with her imitative cluck and cackle, that 
I let her go, as much through a sudden impulse of fear as 
from, an inability to lift her by the power of my arms. I 
then put down my hand, to remove some of the eggs, but was in 
an instant attacked, as fiercely as if the invalid had in reality 
been the creature she fancied herself to be ; and the manner 
of the attack was so true to the habits of the feathered 
mother, that, even in the midst of my philosophy and 
concern for the unhappy being, I trembled for my profes- 
sional gravity. She had fancied that the protuberance on 
her face was a beak, and used that organ with such effect, 
that, on missing my hand, she darted the fancied organ of 
defence on the corner of the tub, and produced a stream of 
blood, which I required to quench by the vulgar but effect- 
ual mode of placing down her back the key of the door. 
During all the struggle, the " cluck, cluck" was kept up, 
accompanied with a shaking of her clothes, as if she had been 
raising the feathers to evidence farther for her instinctive 
anger. 

I now left this unhappy individual to the charge of the 
woman, with a recommendation (I could do nothing more) 
to endeavour to get her weaned from her situation and 
habit. Two or three of my brother practitioners having 
heard the circumstances, visited her during that afternoon, 
and witnessed, as they informed me, the same symptoms 
that had been seen by me. Two days afterwards, I visited 
her again, having, in the meantime, written to Lord 's 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



29 



steward an account of the state of the family's poor protegee, 
with some advices as to how she ought to be disposed of. 
I found her still in the same position, and, if possible, more 
determined to defend her brittle charge. I expressed to 
the attendant some surprise that a human being should 
have been allowed to remain so long in a predicament 
which seemed to throw some discredit upon our vindicated 
superiority over the lower animals ; but she answered me 
by stating that the patient had become so fierce and vin- 
dictive, when an attempt was made to remove her from 
the tub, or to take the eggs from under her, that every 
one was afraid to go near her. A prejudice had, moreover, 
taken possession of the neighbours, that she was under the 
power of some evil spirit ; and those who ventured to look 
at her, as she sat clucking over her charge, gratified their 
intense curiosity by putting their heads in at the door. As 
I approached her, I saw plainly that a fiercer spirit had 
taken possession of her, probably from the attempts that 
had been made to displace her. and overcome her extra- 
ordinary instinct. Her eyes glanced as if fired by the im- 
pulse of strong anger, and her " cluck" sounded with a 
wilder and more unearthly sound than when I saw her 
before ; but she spoke not a word, and, indeed, since ever 
she had betaken herself to the nest, she had been heard to 
utter no other sounds than those that are peculiar to the bird 
she personated. These symptoms imparted to her a most im- 
pressive and terrific aspect, altogether incompatible with any 
feeling of the ludicrous. I have seen mad people in every 
mood ; and, although I have observed them assume attitudes 
and looks more suggestive, of course, of the terror of per- 
sonal injury, I am quite free to confess that I never saw 
any one whose appearance was so productive of those inde- 
finable feelings of pity, fear, and awe, so often roused 
within the walls of an asylum. Nature was not only 
changed it was overturned; human feelings represented 
the instincts of the brutes that perish; and the organs, 
motions, and attitudes of our species, were made to sub- 
serve, with an intense anxiety that was painful to behold, 
the impulses of creatures in the lowest grade of creation. 
I confess that my feelings were, on this occasion, harrowed ; 
and, if I were to search for any feature in the spectacle 
before me, more than another, that tended to produce in 
me this effect, I would say that it was the hideous intensity 
of the instinctive anxiety that beamed in her dull sullen 
eye, as I proceeded forward to the place where she covered 
and defended her charge, aided by the horrid interminable 
cluck that ground my ears with its unnatural sound. 

I was obliged to leave her again, still in the same pre- 
dicament ; for the woman declared that she, for her part, 
would not again meddle with her, unless assisted by her 
neighbours ; and they, possessed of the terror of the evil 
Spirit, would not approach her. I got her, however, to 
promise to give her some meat ; but this, she said, was of 
no easy accomplishment, for the invalid was possessed of 
the idea that nothing ought to be eaten by one in her 
" particular situation," but what a hen might pick up in 
its bill and swallow. She had discarded broths and butcher 
meat ; and the few crumbs she had picked up off a platter 
that had been placed before her, would not suffice to keep 
in her life. 

That same evening, an extraordinary scene took place, 
in the house of this demented creature. I had not been 
informed that she had any near relations ; but it happened 
that, when she was still in the same extraordinary position, 
an only son, a fine open-hearted fellow, a sailor, who had 
been absent from her for seven years, arrived, buoyant 
with hope, and fired with desire to see his mother happy 
and well. Good heavens ! what a sight was presented to 
him ! I witnessed not the harrowing meeting ; but the old 
neighbour was present, and attempted an inadequate de- 
scription of it to me. She did not know her son ; and 



when he approached her, to greet Tier with a son's love, she 
exhibited the same symptoms of fury, and clucked the 
dreadful sounds of her defensive anger in his agonized car. 
What he saw, and what he heard, opened up to him the 
hideous mystery. He rushed out of the house, and had 
not again returned. 

Next day the butler of the family who took charge of 
her called on me. I accompanied him to the house, when 
one or two of the neighbours were prevailed upon to lend 
their assistance in getting her removed by force. The scene 
that followed was an extraordinary one. She resisted them 
to the last ; as the struggle increased, her eye became more 
fiery, and her unearthly screams more loud and discordant- 
passing through all the notes of an incensed hen-mother, 
and attaining, at times, to the harsh scream which one may 
have heard from that feathered" biped, when separated from 
her brood, and pursued by a band of urchins. The task of 
mere removal was not a difficult one, and was soon accom- 
plished. Some curious observer examined the eggs, and 
found that not one of them was broken, so carefully had she 
performed her supposed duty of incubation. If she had sat 
the requisite time, there is not a doubt they would have been 
duly and legitimately hatched. 

Such are the details of this extraordinary case. It is 
needless to say that it may transcend human belief. Thut 
is nothing, because belief is too much regulated by experience. 
I waited on the poor woman afterwards. The idea haunted 
her for about two months, and then gave place to some 
other wild conceptions, that in their turn gave way to others 
of a more rational character. Her son returned, and saw, 
with pleasure, the change that had taken place upon his 
parent. Latterly she became perfectly rational ; but, if any 
one alluded in the remotest degree to her position in the tub, 
she shuddered with horror, and evaded the subject, as if it 
had terrors too dreadful to be borne. 



CHAP. VII THE ARTIST. 

IN the course of my practice, I have paid some attention 
to the effects of the two great stimulants, whisky and to 
bacco, on the bodies and habits of the votaries of excitement 
There is a great difference in the action of the t\vo substances ; 
and I know no more curious subject for the investigation of 
the metapyhsical physician, than the analysis of the various 
effects upon the mind produced by all the stimulating nar- 
cotics which are used by man, for the purpose of yielding 
pleasure or mitigating pain. I have myself committed to 
paper some thoughts upon this subject, which may yet see 
the light ; and many of the conclusions I have deduced from 
my reasoning and experience, may be found to be curious, 
as well as instructive. I have found, for instance, that 
people of sanguine temperaments are greater drinkers than 
smokers ; and those of a dull, phlegmatic cast are greater 
smokers than drinkers. A man that smokes will almost 
always drink ; but a man that drinks will not always, nor 
indeed often, smoke. The two habits are often found com- 
bined in the same individual ; but it is, notwithstanding, a 
fact, that, if the smoker and drinker could always command 
the spirit, he would very seldom or never trouble himself with 
the other. I am led into these remarks by a case that oc- 
curred in my practice not very long ago, where the two 
habits joined in an extraordinary manner their baneful in- 
fluences in closing the mortal career of one of those un- 
fortunate votaries. 

I was first called to William G , a very ingenious 

artist, when he lay under a severe attack of what we call 
delirium tremens, or temporary insanity, produced by or con- 
sisting of (for the proximate cause is often the disease 
itself) highly irritated nerves, the consequence of a succes- 
sion of drinking fits. I found that he had been on the 



so 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



ball," as they say, for three weeks, during which time he 
had drunk forty-two bottles of strong whisky. Like many 
other people of genius, whose fits of inspiration (for artists 
have those fits as well as poets) make them work to excess, 
and leave them, as they wear out, the victims of ennui and 
lassitude, he was in the habit of applying himself to his 
business with too much assiduity, for the period, generally, 
of about a month. Exhausted by the excitement of 
thought and invention kept up too long, he fell regularly 
down into a state of dull lethargy, which seemed to be 
painful to him. lie felt as if there was a load upon his brain. 
A sense of duty stung him, after a few days' idleness, 
poignantly ; and, while he writhed under the sting of the 
sharp monitor, he felt that he could not obey the behest of 
the good angel ; and yet could not explain the reason of 
his utter powerlessness and incapacity for work. If he had 
allowed this state, which is quite natural, and not difficult 
of explanation, to remain unalleviated by stimulants for a 
day or two, he would have found that, as the brain again 
collected energy, he would have been relieved by the vis 
mcdicalrlx of Nature herself; but he had no patience for 
that ; and drink was, accordingly, his refuge and relief. 
The first glass he took was fraught with the most dire- 
ful power it threw down the flood-gates of a struggling 
resolution ; the relief of the new and artificial impulse 
raised his spirits ; another application inflamed his mind ; 
and then bottle after bottle was thrown into the furnace, 
until the drink-fever laid him up, and brought upon him 
the salutary nausea which overcame the rebellious desire. 
This system had continued for more than ten years. He 
had been gradually getting worse and worse ; and, latterly, 
he had resigned himself to the cognate influence of the 
narcotic weed. 

When I got an account of this young man for he was 
still comparatively young and saw some of the exquisite 
pieces of workmanship, both in sculpture and painting, he 
had executed, I felt a strong interest in his fate. He was, 
indeed, one example out of many where I had contemplated, 
with tears that subdued my professional apathy, genius, 
commonly supposed to be the rarest, if not the highest gift 
of mortals, working out, by some power inherent in itself, 
the ruin of the body, mind, and morals of its possessor. 
This victim I saw lying under the fell power of one of the 
most frightful of diseases, brought on by his own intemper- 
ance ; and not far from his bed lay a half-finished Scripture- 
piece a work which, if finished, would have brought him 
money and fame. He presented the ordinary appearances 
of his complaint. Emaciated and pale, he laboured under 
that union of ague and temporary madness which delirium 
tremens exhibits. All the motions of his nerves seemed to 
have been inverted ; those servants of the will had got a 
lew master, which kept them, by his diabolical power, in 
continual action. His arms were continually in motion, 
aiming at some object present or ideal ; but, instead of 
making direct for it, vibrating in sudden snatches backward 
and forward ; his legs were also in continual agitation 
kicking up the bed-clothes, then being stretched forth as 
if held by a spasm ; and his eyes, red and fiery, seemed to 
fly from object to object, as if the vision of a thing burned 
the orbs, and made them roll about for a restingplace. 
Thousands of mascce volitantes, or the imaginary flies that 
swarm round the heads of victims of this complaint, 
tormented him by their ideal presence, and kept his 
snatching, quivering hands in continual play, till, by 
seizing the bed-posts, he seemed, though only for a moment, 
to get a relief from his restlessness. He knew no one; and 
sudden burning thoughts flashing upon his heated brain, 
wrung from him jabbering exclamations, containing in- 
tensive words of agony or mirth. The rest of his convulsed 
muscles was only purchased at the expense of such a mor- 
bid increase of the sense of hearing, that the scratch, of a 



[ pin on the wall pained him as much as if the operation had 
been performed on his brain a symptom often so strongly 
marked in regular brain-fever, and often detected in this 
last stage of the drunkard's disease. The sense of the 
pupil of the eye was of the same morbid character. A 
stream of light produced in him a scream, suggesting the 
analogy of the sound of the night-bird, the owl, when light 
is suddenly let into a nest among the young brood. The 
delights of life, sunbeam and sound, were transformed into 
poisons ; so that his own vivid pictures, or the most 
melodious of songs, would have produced a convulsive 
spasm. Food was nauseous to him, and water swallowed 
by gulps, in the intervals of spasms, was all that could be 
taken without pain, to quench the burning fires within. 

Such is a faithful picture of a disease produced by ardent 
spirits. I recommend it to the votaries of intemperance. 
The moment I saw the patient I knew his disease ; and 
the particulars furnished to me by an old woman who kept 
his house only corroborated my opinion. The remedies in 
such cases are well known to us, and were instantly 
applied. He remained in the same state nearly all the 
next day ; but began to shew symptoms of recovery on the 
morning following. Nature prevailed, and he got gradually 
better ; having, while his weakness was on him, a strong 
antipathy to ardent spirits a symptom of the drunkard I 
have often observed. The interest I felt in him made me 
call often ; and I had a long conversation with him on the 
philosophy and morale of his intemperance. He went 
himself to the very depths of the subject ; and I found, 
what I have often done, in regard to other drunkards, 
that no one knew better the predisposing causes, the 
resisting energies, the consequences everything connected 
with the fearful vice ; but all his philosophy and rea- 
soning ended, as these often do, in the melancholy sentence 
that " there are powers within us greater than reason or 
philosophy." 

After the fearful attack he had had, he remained sober for 
about a month, and got a great length with his Scripture- 
piece. I called often to see his progress, to inspirit him in 
a continuation of his efforts, and support him in his self- 
denial. Matters seemed to be progressing well, and I hinted 
as much to his housekeeper ; but she shook her head, and 
replied, calmly, " that she had seen the same scene acted, ten 
times a-year, for ten years." She added " that he would 
break out again, in a day or two ;" and, accordingly, on the 
next day, I discovered he had begun to lag in his work, to 
draw deep sighs, and to exhibit a listlessness, all premoni- 
tory signs of a relapse. Knowing that he was at times a 
smoker, I suggested to him the trial of tobacco, at this critical 
period. He said, he had tried that remedy before; but ac- 
knowledged that perhaps he had not carried it far enough. 
I therefore set him a-going ; advising him to keep to it 
steadily, for I had succeeded once before, in a very extreme 
case, in drawing out the one vice by the other undoubtedly 
a lesser. So he began well, and persevered for about a week, 
during which time he had also got pretty well on with his 
works, having finished, in that time, two of the most difficult 
heads in the whole piece. 

I had now some greater hopes of him, and told the house- 
keeper to do what she could to aid me in my efforts. Two 
days afterwards I called, and met the old woman at the 
door. She shook her head ominously as I passed her. I 
opened the door, and went in. On a chair opposite to his 
picture, sat the artist, with his pallet in his left hand the 
brush had fallen from his right his head was hung over the 
back of the chair, and his cravatless neck bent almost to 
breaking. Beside him sat a bottle empty: there was no glass 
beside it. I took up the vessel, and smelt it. It had been 
filled with whisky. I now looked at the picture. It was 
destroyed. His burin had been drawn over it like a mop, 
and dashed backwards and forwards, as if he had taken a 






TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



31 



spite at it, and been determined to put an end, in one moment, 
to the work of six months ! 

^ There was now no occasion for a doctor ; a drunkard 
fairly broken out is far beyond our help or care. I left him, 
and told the housekeeper to call and tell me Avhen the fit was 
over. She did so ; and I called again. I found him sitting 
on the same chair, perfectly sober, but so thin and wan 
that he seemed like one taken from that place " where one 
inheriteth creeping things, and beasts, and worms." His 
languid blood-shot eye was fixed on the picture, and tears 
were stealing clown his white cheeks. When I entered, he 
held his hands up to his face, to cover the shame that 
mantled on his cheek, and deep sobsheaved his bosom. I was 
moved, and sat down beside him without speaking a 
word. 

" God !" he exclaimed, tf what am I to do with my- 
Belf? Is there no remedy against this vice? has the 
great Author of our being thus left us with an inheritance of 
reason, and a power that sits like a cockatrice on our brains, 
and laughs at the God-sent gift ? See see the fruit of six 
months' hard labour ! I expected fame from that, and 
money. I would have got both. The fiend has triumphed. 
When I awoke from my dream, I heard his laugh behind the 
canvass. I am undone." 

And he wrung his hands like a demented person, and 
sobbed bitterly. I was still silent ; for any words I could 
have uttered would have destroyed the impressiveness of the 
scene before me. When I had allowed the sensation of 
remorse to sink deeper into him, I spoke : 

" I am glad that you have wrought this destruction," said 
I. " You have produced an antidote to your own poison 
let it work. I have no medicines in my laboratory that 
have half the efficacy of that once splendid emanation of 
your genius now the monument of your folly, and to be, 
as I hope, the prophylactic to save you from ruin and death." 

" Ah, God help me ! it is a dear medicine," groaned he. 
" I feel that I never can produce such a work again." 

And he hung down his head as if the blackest cloud that 
covers hope had thrown over him its dark shadow. I again 
observed silence, and he remained with his head on his 
breast for several minutes, without exhibiting a symptom of 
life beyond the deep sigh that raised his ribs. 

" You must hang that picture upon the wall," said I. 
' It is the most valuable you ever painted. Look at it daily, 
and, before the sun goes down, begin another on the same 
subject." 

My words produced no effect upon him, and indeed I 
knew that he was in a condition that entirely excluded ex- 
ternal aid to his revolving thoughts. He was in the pit of 
dejection, which lies on the far side of the elevation of 
factitious excitement a place of darkness, where the scor- 
pions of conscience sting to madness, and every thought that 
lises in the gloomy, bewildered mind appears like a ghost 
that walks at midnight over open graves and the bones of 
the dead. To some, these spectres have spoken in such a 
way as to rouse the dormant principles of energetic amend- 
ment, that lie beyond the reach of precept, or even that of 
conscience ; but to the greater part of mankind this place of 
wailing and gnashing of teeth yields nothing but an agony 
that only tends to make them climb again the delusive 
mount from which they had fallen, though only again to be 
precipitated into the dreadful abode where, in the end, they 
rnu&t die. I knew that words had no effect upon my 
patient. I rose accordingly, and left him to the unmiti- 
gated horrors of his situation, in the expectation that he 
might be one of the few that derive from it good. I had no 
fear of his falling again, immediately, into another fit ; for 
the period of nausea was only begun, and he was safe in the 
keeping of a rebelling stomach, whatever he might be in 
that of burning conscience. 

H* remained as his housekeeper told me, in that state of 



depression for two days, often recurring to the monument 
of his folly, the destroyed Scripture piece ; weeping over it, 
and ejaculating wild professions of amendment, clenched by 
oaths in which the blessed name of God was made the 
guarantee of the strength of a resolution which the demon of 
his vice was standing with glaring eyes ready to overturn. 
I have no faith in outspoken resolves of wordy declamation : 
not sure of ourselves, we fortify our weak resolutions through 
the car and the eye, by spoken and written adjurations, and 
promises of amendment. After the medicine of dejection 
had wrought its utmost effect, I waited upon him. He was 
arrayed in melancholy and gloom ; but the agony of the 
lowest pit was gone, and he stood on a dangerous middle 
place, between a temporary fulfilment of his resolutions and 
a relapse. With a patient of this sort I never continue a 
system of argumentation and deportation. I am satisfied 
it does injury ; for it reaches the moral sore only to irritate it, 
and an argument surmounted, or sworn resolution vanquished, 
is a triumph and a pabulum to the spirit of the foe greater 
than years of domination. I told him, what he confessed 
frankly, that he stood, for a day or two, on the dangerous 
ground from which he had so often fallen, and requested him 
authoritatively, as if I had assumed the reins of his judgment 
which he had thrown over the back of his bad angel, to 
begin instantly another painting, and try once more the 
American weed. Command sometimes, persuasion never 
succeeds with a drunkard. He set about stretching his 
canvass, and put on the first coat of the foundation of his 
picture. I told him I would call again in a week ; but that, 
as it was not a part f f my profession to reclaim drunkards, 
I would discontinue my efforts in his behalf, if I found 
that, at the end of that time, he had swerved from his resolu- 
tion. The sense of degradation in the mind of these lost 
votaries of intemperance, while it inclines the unhappy in- 
dividuals often to resign themselves to the command (from 
which, however, they often break) of those they respect, 
responds keenly to the manifestations of disregard and loss 
of esteem with which they are visited in consequence of 
their failing. He felt strongly the manner of my treatment, 
and I thought and observed even tears working for vent 
from his still blood-shot eyes. 

" You, and all good men, have a privilege to despise him 
who has not the approval of his own conscience," he said. 
" I could bear your persuasive reproof ; but the thought that 
I have rendered myself unworthy of the trouble of one I 
esteem, to save me from the ruin I have madly prepared for 
myself, sends me to that deep pit of despair, from which I 
have even now struggled to get free. You saved me from 
death ; and I was no sooner cured than I plunged headlong 
again into the gulf from which my disease was derived. 
I have made myself an ingrate, and a beggar ; spurned your 
advice, and destroyed the work from which I expected hon 
our and reward. I see myself as through a microscope, 
and you have diminished me still farther. Heaven help me !" 

" You have powers within you, sir," replied I, with affected 
sternness, " through the medium of which you might have 
surveyed yourself as through the telescope; and your size 
would not have been greater than that potential moral 
magnitude to which you might long ere now have arrived, 
and which is still within your own powen I exhort not] 
leave you to yourself In te omne recumbit." 

" I know it, I know it," he cried, with a swelling throat. 
" My ruin or my salvation lies within my own breast. For 
ten years I have resolved, and re-resolved ; and it _is only 
three days since I destroyed that picture, and rose with fiery 
eyes and a burning heart to survey the consequences of my 
vice. O God ! where is this to end ? You saw what I 
suffered when extended on that bed, racked with pain.; my 
brain on fire ; my intellect overturned ; my muscles twisted 
by spasms ; my eyes and ears tortured by imaginary sights 
anA sounds ; with Conscience in the back-ground, waiting 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



till Reason should bring to the avenging angel its victim. 
In that every mortal on earth might have found a lesson, 
but a drunkard. I found none. The very fire of my fever 
filled my soul with a thirst which precipitated me again 
deeper than ever in my old sin. I have got my senses 
again; and my blood-shot eyes have surveyed, and shall 
surrey, that sad monument of my vice and folly that child 
of my dreams, with which my pregnant fancy travailed with 
a delightful pain , and to which my fond hopes of honour, 
wealth, and happiness were directed now, alas ! dead 
killed by my rebellious hand. From that dead body I have 
extracted a virtue which, with the powers of the amulet, 
shall guard me more powerfully than the lesson of my 
bodily agony from further destruction. Believe me, sir. 
Aid me once again. If I fail this time, discard me for 
ever." 

As he finished, he hung his head over the chair, and 
covered his face with his hands, to hide from me his 
agonized face. I told him that it was my intention to try 
what effect the destroyed picture would have upon him. 

" You have made a fair beginning," said I. " Persevere 
keep to the new picture to-morrow and to-morrow. I 
shall call in a week." 

" You shall find me at work, and an altered man," he 
said ; and a blush came over his face as he tried to open 
some subject to me of a delicate nature. " I I have for 
some time thought," he continued, " that the way in which 
I live a bachelor, with few domestic enjoyments has a 
part of the blame of this horrid vice that has taken posses- 
sion of my soul. Had I a wife, my sensibilities would be 
fed, my ennui relieved, my home made comfortable, and 
my ardour for my profession keeping my mind in the de- 
lightful bondage of fancy, I might thus satisfy all the 
cravings of my feelings, and be independent of the liquid 
fire and the envenomed weed." 

" You are a perfect .ZEsculapius," replied T. Had I 
lectured to you for a week from the manual of Galen, I 
could not have suggested a better medicine ; but, mark 
you, I know not if you have properly described the man- 
ner of its operation. A wife will do all for you that you 
have described ; but there is a greater virtue in her ; and 
that is, that she ought to produce in you a salutary terror 
of making her unhappy. This is a part of love and I 
know no greater conservative element of the pure passion. 
If you fall again into your old habits, you will render an 
innocent individual miserable ; and that thought ought to 
make you fly the poison as if it were distilled with the herbs 
of Medea or Circe." 

" Oh, I feel it, I feel it," he replied ; f ' and am thankful 
to you for the suggestion. Like Pygmalion, I fell in love 
with a face that I sculptured last year. Every line I 
chiseled was engraven on my heart, and I have dreamed ot 
her ever since. She is herself an artist, and paints beauti- 
fully. Our sympathies are kindred ; and, though I never 
declared my passion, from a fear that my bad reputation for 
inebriety may have reached her, I have looked it, and 
have reason to think that I may succeed." 

" Try," said I ; rt and I shall then have every hope of 
you." 

I left him, and heard some time afterwards that he had 
married a very pretty young lady, the daughter of an old 
artist that lived in the same town. It was not, however, 
(as I understood,) till he had made a solemn promise and 
oath to the old gentleman, who was possessed of some 
eccentricities, that he would renounce his habit of drinking, 
that the young female artist was yielded to him. I felt 
still the same interest in the man of genius, and called 
shortly after the marriage, to see how his medicine had 
wrought. I found him as happy as the day was long. 
His picture was going on even during the honeymoon, and 
seemed to reflect a part of the sweet luminary's glory. The 



young wife, who was really pretty, and imbued with a 
strong love for both the artist and his art, looked over his 
shoulder as he proceeded with his work. I was delighted 
with the couple, and told him that the moment he had 
finished the picture he was occupied with, I wished him to 
give me a portrait of " the doctor." He promised ; and I 
left them, in the confidence at times interfered with by 
my experience of the insidious power of the demon that 
he would never again have recourse to his old habit. 

" To go to see a cousin" is, as all married people know, 
a very pretty and very usual mode of keeping up the flame of 
love in the hearts of the young worshippers of Hymen. Mra 

G went, accordingly, (so I learned at a future period,) 

to see a friend who lived in the country. The artist was 
left again by himself, and promised to his loving wife, who 
left him with a kiss of true affection, that he would have 
the piece he was engaged on finished by the time she re- 
turned, when he was to commence with my portrait. 

" Never fear, Maria," he said, as he embraced her. " You 
have made me a new man. God bless you for it ! I am 
happy now. Oh, that blessed thought, so opportunely con- 
firmed by Dr ! I shall paint him like an angel for 
it." 

And, laughing through his tears, he again kissed her, 
and she left the house with the intention of returning in a 
week, with an affection increased, and the satisfaction of 
seeing the painting imbued with all the glory of his high 
genius. 

I was, in the meantime, and while these love matters 
were going on, engaged in the pursuits of my profession. 
I knew nothing of them, but wished them happy, and 
thought all was right. I was sitting, after a day's labour, 
in my study. It was about eleven o'clock at night. I was 
startled by the artist's old housekeeper, who burst in upon 
me in great terror. Her eyes were absolutely starting from 
their sockets ; and she stood before me with her mouth 
open, but without being able, for a time, to utter a syl- 
lable. 

" "What is the matter ?" said I. 

" Come to my master, for heaven's sake !" she cried, 
after some struggles of the throat. " He is vomiting 
fire." 

" What can the woman mean ?" said I, as I took up my 
hat, and hastened to the victim. 

I soon found a sufficient explanation. The poor artist 
was lying on his back on the floor. There were a great 
number of empty bottles scattered per aversionem round 
him. A blue, flickering flame was burning in his mouth, 
which was as black as a piece of coal. His eye-balls wer<? 
turned up, and convulsive movements shook his frame. ] 
was at no loss for the cause. A tobacco-pipe and a candle 
w r ere beside him. After he had filled his stomach with 
whisky for six days, and drunk no fewer than thirteen 
bottles, he had, in endeavouring to light his pipe, set fire 
to the spirit that lay on his lips and in his mouth the 
flame sought its way down the pharynx till it came to the 
full body of liquid in his stomach, and all w r as, in a 
moment, on fire. I need not dwell on the issue of this case. 
The poor artist was dead in an hour. Where was his re- 
solution ? This is no overcharged picture of the effects oi 
drunkenness 




WILSON'S 



TALES OF THE BORDERS, 



AND OF SCOTLAND 



THE MAIDEN FEAST 

HE who has been present at a real Maiden, or Scotch 
feast of harvest-home, if it should happen that he belongs 
to the caste that makes the light fantastic toe the fulcrum 
of the elegant motions of the quadrille, and Hogarth's line 
of beauty the test of the evolutions of modern grace, might 
wish that the three sisters had long ago resigned their 
patronage of the art of dancing, and left the limbs of man, 
and their motions, to the sole power of the spirit of fun 
and good humour. Centuries have passed away since first 
the Maiden called forth the salient energies of the 
harvest-weary hinds and rosy-cheeked damsels of Scotland. 
We have only now amongst us the ghost of the old spirit- 
stirring genius of " the farmer's ha'." The modern vintage 
feast is only a shadow of the old Cerealia the festival of 
festivals, as it has been called at which the young and 
the old of ancient Greece and Rome resigned themselves 
to the power of the rosy god, and the nil placet sinefructu 
was seen in every bright eye, heard in every glad voice, 
and listened to in every tripping measure. The Scotch 
Maiden was once what the vintage feasts of the Con- 
tinent were, and still are. The hinds and maids of one 
" town" were present at the harvest-home of another ; reci- 
procal visits kept up the spirit of the enjoyment ; the fields 
and farmers' ha's resounded with the merry pipe ; the 
whirling reel mixed up the dancers in its " uniform confu- 
sion;" the flowing bicker was " filled and kept fou " kisses, 
" long and loud," vindicated a place in the world of musical 
sound ; and the Genius of Pleasure ran away with heart and 
soul to her happy regions declaring that, for one solitary 
night in the year, the power of sorrow should have no au- 
thority over mournful man. The Maiden of Cairnkibbie, a 
farm on the property of Foulden too long ago for the men- 
tion of a specific period, but while Maidens (to descend to a 
pun) were still in the height of their beauty and bloom was 
one of the most joyous scenes that ever graced the green, 
or made the rafters of the barn ring with " hey and how 
rohumbelow." The farmer, William Hume some far-off 
friend of the Paxton family was rich, as things went in 
those days ; and a gaucy dame, and a fair daughter, Lilly, 
blessed him with affection and duty. No lass ever graced 
a Maiden like Lilly Hume ; and no free farmer's wife ever 
extended so hearty a patronage to the feast of fun as did 
the sleek and comfortable guidwife of Cairnkibbie. The 
pretty "damysell" was as jimp as " gillie" 

" As ony rose her rude was red, 
Her lire was like the lillie ;" 

and far and near she defied all manner of bold competition 
in those charms that go to deck the blooming maids of 
Scotland. Natural affection made her the pride of her 
parents ; and a simplicity that did not seem to have art 
enough to tell her of her own beauty, endeared her to those 
who might have been expected to have been smitten with 
envy, or crossed with a hopeless passion. 

There was many a lass " as myld as meid" at the 

Maiden of Cairnkibbie, and many a Jock, and Steenie, and 

Robyne, as braw as yellow locks brushed bolt upright in 

the face of heaven could make any of God's creatures. 

161. VOL. IT 



But many of the merry-makers did not trust to such 
ornaments of nature : for Steenie Thornton, from the town 
of Kelton, ^the gay lover of Jess Swan from the same 
town, had his locks tied behind with a yellow ribbon got 
from her fair hand, and his "pumps" boasted the same 
decoration ; the sprightly Will Aitken, the best hand at a 
morris-dance in all the Merse, had his jacket " browclen" 
with " fowth o' roses" stuck into the button-holes by Jean 
Gillies from Westertown ; the fiercest wrestler of the 
Borders, Jock Hedderick, who cherished Bess Gibson, 
pushed forward his bold breast, to exhibit to the goggle 
eyes of wondering admiration a vest sewed by her delicate 
fingers at intervals stolen from cheese-making ; and Pat 
Birrel, the noted scaumer, who was accounted more than 
" twa hen clokkis" by Kirsty Glen the hen wife's daughter 
of Earlston, lifted his feet high in mid-air, to shew the 
gushets in his hose wrought by her lily hands. Nor did 
the screechin gilkies lack ornaments to set off their fair 
persons. Some had bright yellow gloves of " raffal right ;" 
and many, with kirtles of " Lincome light, weel prest wi' 
mony plaits," pulled the trains in most menacing bundles 
through the pocket-holes, to shew at once how bright was 
their colours, and how many a " breid" was wasted in 
their amplitude. Many had ornaments that tongue could 
not describe because they were the first of their kind, 
and required a new vocabulary to do justice to their 
beauties* But, ornamented or plain, the revellers were all 
alike filled with the spirit of the Maiden ; and, if their 
" Tarn Lutar," the piper, did not skirl them up to the 
point of enjoyment to which they all struggled, and danced, 
and drank, and screajned to get, sure it was that no fault 
was attributable to the merry-makers themselves : nor was 
the guidman's daughter, Lilly Hume, less joyous than the 
merriest. Although at her father's harvest-feast she was 
accounted a lady, she was the humblest of the " hail 
menyie ;" and never refused to draAV up through her pocket- 
holes the ends of her falling yellow kirtle, as a preparation 
for another reel, at the supplicatory bend or bow of the 
humblest hind, albeit he was adorned with neither bright 
crimson nor ochre yellow. 

The " Tarn Lutar" of the feast a blind piper, who be- 
gan to play when he first felt the incipient effects of the 
first bicker, blew stronger as the fumes of the potation rose 
higher, declined as the liquid impulse fell, and even stopped 
when the drink entirely sunk was well supplied with the 
" piper's coig," a girded vessel of jolly good ale, that lay 
beside him, and was ever and anon filled, as the dancers 
felt the music beginning to lag in spirit. Away they flew, 
to the airs of" Gillquhisker," " Brum on tul," " Tortee Solee 
Lemendow/'and other good old tunes, now forgotten, though 
their names are mentioned by Sir James Ingles; the 
resilent heels spurned the earth ; the fore part of the foot, 
where the spring lies, dealt out those tremendous thuds on 
the suffering floor which heretofore were reckoned the 
true and legitimate soul of dancing, and now, alas ! dis- 
placed by the sickly slip of the French grace ; the " dancing 
whoop" rung around, inspired every soul, and lightened 
every heel ; JockSplaefut " bobbitup wi' bends;" and Jenny 
set to him, and " beckit," and set again, and turned, and 
away glided through the mazes of the reel 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



w For reeling there micht nae wench rest ;" 

and came back, and set and " beckit" again; till, '' forfocbtin 
faynt" with pure dancing toil, the reelers gave place to the 
country-dancers, who toiled and swat in the same degree 
for the period of their sweet labours. Then was the 
breathing time in the far corners appropriated to the cooling 
tankard, the dew of which left on the panting lips ran a 
considerable risk of being dried Up by the heat of love, 
elicited from the kiss that smacked of love and ale. 

At a corner in the end of the room, a crowd had col- 
lected ; and some high words were passing between Will 
Aitken and Jock Hedderick, on a question tbat seemed 
to interest the dancers. Those standing about were 
washing down large mouthfuls of bannocks by draughts of 
strong beer, while they wiped the sweat from their brows, 
and listened to the subject in dispute. At intervals some 
one was heard at the door, playing and singing. 
"He played sae scliill, an" sang sac sweet," 

that Lilly Hume felt interested in the musician. He was a 
beggar, who boldly claimed admittance to the Maiden, by 
what he called the " auld rights o' the gaberlnnzies of Scot- 
land," who were declared entitled to enter into the feast of 
the harvest-home, to dance thereat, and drink thereat, and 
kiss the " damysells" thereat, with as much freedom as the 
gayest guest. This demand was resisted by Jock Hedderick, 
who besides disputed the authority of the ancient custom ; 
which, on the other hand, was upheld by Will Aitken, 
whose supple tongue was so powerful over his opponents 
that 

" He muddelt them down like ony mice ;" 

and, notwithstanding the terror of the scaumer's arm, pre- 
vailed upon the guidman and the company to hold sacred 
the rights of hospitality of the land, and admit the " pauky 
auld carle," with his pipes and his wallets. As soon as 
the decision was given, Lilly ran to the door, and, taking 
the gaberlunzie by the hand, brought him in. A loud 
laugh resounded throughout the room, to the profit of the 
proud and merry dancers, and at the expense of the jolly 
beggar, who, young and stalwart, and borne down by 
sundry appendages, containing doubtless meal and bread, 
"cauk and keil," "spinnals and quhorles," and all the 
et-ceteras of the wallet, stood before* them, and raised in 
return such a ranting, roaring laugh, as well apparently 
at himself as his company, that, by that one effort of his 
lungs, he made more friends than many a laughter-loving 
pot companion might make in a year. Then in an instant 
he struck this merry-maker on the back, and slapped that 
on the shoulder, and kissed the skirling kitties with such 
a jolly and hearty spirit of free salutation, that he even 
added flame to the already burning passion of frolic, and 
raised again the rafter-shaking laugh, till it drowned all 
the energies of Lutar himself, albeit his coig had that 
instant been filled. 

But this was only vanity, while the stomach of the jolly 
gaberlunzie was as yet empty. A large stoup was brought 
to him by Will Carr, a good-looking young man of gentle 
demeanour, the only person who in that pairing assembly 
seemed to want his " dow." A shade of melancholy was 
on his cheek, and, as he offered the gaberlunzie the stoup, 
he cast an eye on Lilly, the meaning of which seemed to 
be read in an instant by the beggar. 

" Ha ! ha !" cried the latter ; " ye are the true welcomer, 
my braw youth. Thae wild chiels an' their glaikit hizzies 
wad fill the beggar wi' the sound o' his ain, laugh, as if 
he were a pair o' walking bagpipes. But, ho, man, this 
is sour yill. 

" The bridegroom brought a pint of ale, 

And bade the piper drink it. 
' Drink it ?' quoth he, ' and it so staile ! 

Ashrew me, if I think it !' " 

Ye've anither barrel in the corner yonder awa ! the 
beggar maun hae the best. 



" ' This Mfiiden night it is his right, 
And, faith he winna blink it. 1 " 

And so he cadgily ranted and sang, swearing that tlic-lnst 
ale and the prettiest lips in the whole house should that 
night be at his command. 

While Will Carr brought him ale out of another co.sk, 
Lilly Hume took away his wallets, and laid them in a 
window-sole at his back. Having taken a waught of the 
ale so long that the bystanders looked on with fear, lest 
he might never recover his breath again, he returned the 
stoup empty to Will, telling him to fill it again, as he 
intended to assist the legitimate Lutar in blowing up the 
spirits of the company a work which would require 
" fowth o' yill." Without farther preface, he blow up his 
bags with a skirl that seemed to shake the house, and, 
dashing fearlessly into the time, poured so much joyous 
sound into the thick air of the heated apartment, that the 
weary-limbed dancers threw off their languor, and fell to 
it again with a spirit that equalled that of their first off- 
set. But his musical occupation did not prevent his at- 
tention to the looks and actions of Lilly Hume and Will 
Carr. 

" How dinna ye dance, hinny ?" said he, in a low voice 
to Lilly. " How dinna ye dance, man?" he repeated, as 
he turned his head to Will. " Think ye yer sittin there's 
a compliment to me, wha am blawin awa my lungs here, 
for the very purpose o' makin ye dance ?" 

The two young people looked at each other, and then at 
the guidman, who sat at a little distance. 

Cf Tell me the reason, my bonny hinny," he added ; 
and, as he blew again, leant his ear to hear the answer. 
" Eh ! come now, my white lily," he persisted. " I'm a 
safe carle, and can spae fortunes as weel as blaw up thae 
green bags wi' thriftless wind. I may tell yc o' a braw 
lot, ifyc'll only open yer lips and gie me some o' ycr 
secrets." 

" My faither winna let me dance wi' Will Carr," at last 
replied Lilly, blushing from car to ear. 

" How ! how !" answered the gaberlunzie, taking the pipes 
suddenly frae his mouth " no let ye dance wi' a decent 
callant, the bonniest hensure o' the hail menyie ! What 
crime has he committed, hinny? Eh ?" 

C! He's puir," answered Lilly, innocently. 

u Ha ! a red crime that, Lilly," answered he ; " if he had 
killed a score o' God's creatures in a Border raid, he 
micht hae been forgi'en ; but wha forgies poverty ? But 
do ye like Will Carr, hinny ?" 

" My faither and mither say sae," answered Lilly. 

"Ay, ay I see whar the wind blaws," said the gab- 
erlunzie. " But ye will dance wi' him. I, as a beggar, 
hae a richt to the fairest hand o' the maiden yer faither 
daurna refuse ye to me; an' let Will tak yon quean wi' 
the yellow ribbons in her wimple, an' we'll a' mix in ae 
reel. Will, man, awa an' ask yon bloomin hizzy wi- 
the rose rude to dance wi' ye." 

Will obeyed ; and the beggar, having brought the tune 
to a termination, stepped boldly up into the middle of the 
floor, holding by the hand the fair Lilly Hume ; while 
Will, with his blushing quean, Bess Gordon, took their 
stations opposite. 

" Up wi' the ' Hunts o' Cheviot,' Tarn," cried the beggar j 
" an' blaw as if ye wad blaw yer last Gie him yill there, 
an' I'll play for him a hail hour, if he gars the roof-tree 
o' Cairnkibbie dirl to the gaberlunzie's dance." 

The expectation of a merry bout brought others to the 
floor, and even the guidman and guidvvife of Cairnkibbie, 
themselves, rose and " buckled to the wark," as cleverly 
as the youngest gipsy of the whole assembly. Then up 
blew the " Hunts o' Cheviot," in the quickest of Tarn's ale- 
inspired manner, and away banged the jolly gaberlunzie 
as if the spirit of Cybele's priests had seized, his heart 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



"and like a lyon lap," as if lie would have forelcetcd 
Lightfute himself, and " counterfeited Frans." He clapped 
his hands, till the echoes came hack from the roof; and 
the exhilarating hoogh ! hoogh ! which can only he given 
forth hy the throat of a Scotchman, when good liquor has 
wet it and fired the hrain that moves it, was heard by 
every ear, and felt by every heart. The veiy piper was 
delighted with the ranting chield, and ever, as his clap, 
and hoogh ! hoogh ! resounded through the barn, the yells 
of the pipes seemed to rise higher and higher, and echoes 
of the same sounds came from the imitative spirits of the 
dancers. 

" Hurra for the gaberlunzie !" shouted "Will Aitken. 
" The jolly beggar, for ever !" cried Steenie Thornton ; 
^ad the smiles of the hizzies, and occasional slaps on the 
back, administered to the jolly roisterer, as they met and 
passed him in the midst of the reel, testified their most 
perfect satisfaction with the king of his tribe. 

" Here, Will, here, man," whispered the beggar, as he 
rioted in his wild humour, and twirled Will Carr about to 
face Lilly, while he left her for Bess Gordon. " Set to 
her, man, and dinna spare a kiss and a good squeeze o' 
her hand, as ye see the auld anes' backs to ye." 

And then he drowned his remark with his hoogh ! 
hoogh ! sprung up yard high, and clapped his knees oppo- 
site the blooming Bess, who would not have given her jolly 
new partner for a' the Will Cans in Scotland. 

"Change the measure, Tarn," cried the beggar, as he 
foresaw the termination of " The Hunts of Cheviot." " Up 
wi' ' King William's Note,' man. Fill his coig, ye lazy 
loons ! Noo, Tarn ! hoogh, hoogh ! there up yet, higher 
and higher, man hoogh, hoogh !" 

The piper felt the inspiration, up mounted the notes to 
the highest and liveliest measure, and away again flew the 
merry dancers under all the impulse of the new tune. The 
clap on the beggar's knee ever and anon rung along, and 
still he twirled round Will Carr to face Lilly though not 
before he had taken her round the fair neck, and kissed 
her, " nothing loath" and again presented himself to the 
welcome face of Bess, whose rosy lips he " pree'd" as often 
as his many laborious evolutions, hooghs, claps, and cries 
to the piper would permit. He even made tacks to the 
side reels, and, laying hold of the damsels of his neighbours, 
kissed them from lug to lug, and then came back with a 
roar of laughter behind him, to greet of new Bess Gordon, 
to whom he seemed more welcome for his gallantry. The 
guidwife of Cairnkibbie herself was violently laid hold of 
round the neck and saluted with a loud smack, which, 
sounding in the ears of the guidman, produced a hearty 
laugh at the boldness, which was excused by the reckless 
jollity of the extraordinary gaberlunzie. Nor did he yet 
allow them to flag. 

" Keep at it, Will !" he cried to the young man. " Ye'll 
hae aneuch o' Lilly for ae nicht, or my name's no Wat 
Wilson. Aneuch o' ' King William's Note/ Tarn. Come 
awa wi' anither ' In Simmer I mawed my meadow,' wi' 
dooble quick time. Look to his bicker there, ye culroun 
knaves, wha'll neither dance, drink, nor mak drink !" 

The piper heard the appeal, and struck up the new tune 
with great glee 

Gude Lord, how he did lans !" 

And again the inspiring strain, coming in a new measure, 
filled the dancers with new energies. There never had 
been such a reel since ever reels were danced. Heaven 
knows how long it had lasted, and yet the performers felt 
no weariness, all through the inspiring devilry, as they 
termed it, of the gaberlunzie, whose war-cry was as loud 
and uproarious as ever, and his leaps in the air as high as 
they had bc-en at the first off-go. He now played off a 
new trick. He twirled round the uartner of the next reel, 



and made him take his place before Bess Gordon, while he, 
ambitious of a new face, took the place of his neighbour, 
and continued the sport in his new locality and company. 
Bess regretted her change ; but his new position was soon 
changed, for he played the same trick with the next reel- 
ing party, and so on through the whole four for such 
was the number up at once ; and he continued to " pree 
the mou's" of every young maiden on the floor, and, return- 
ing with many a hoogh, and clap, and leap to his old 
position, he seemed inclined to keep up the sport till the 
elder dancers should drop to the ground with sheer fatigue. 
It seemed to the guidman of Cairnkibbie that there was 
no remedy but a nod to Piper Tarn, who, himself almost 
blown out, observed with pleasure the master's indication, 
and stopped the music even in the very midst of the leap- 
ing joy of the interminable gaberlunzie, who would have 
danced apparently till next moon if he could have got any 
one strong enough and willing enough to dance with him. 

He was now a universal favourite ; all flocked round 
him as he wiped the perspiration from his forehead, and 
declared they had never seen such a spirited dancer before. 
His name, Wat Wilson, flew through the barn, and every 
one wondered how they had never seen such a jolly beg- 
gar in those parts before. But Wat said nothing of his 
unde, his ubi, or his quo ; he only drank to the crowd 
around him ; and, with Lilly on one side of him, and Will 
Carr on the other, he seized again his own pipes, and, forcing 
Tarn to his feet, and crying to a new party to start, struck 
up one of the liveliest airs that the folks of the Merse had 
ever heard. In an instant again the barn was resounding 
with mirth ; his strains were irresistible. 

" Then all the wenches te he they pl.iyit, 
And loud as Will Aitken louche ; 
But nane cried, Gossip, hyn your gaits, 
For we have dansit ancugh." 

At least none cried they had danced enough while the 
beggar played ; for the very heels seemed to obey the influ- 
ence of his spirit, as if they had been gifted with some 
power of sympathy, independently of the bodies to which 
they were attached. The dance was kept up till the 
dancers tired for the beggar's lungs were as tough as his 
feet ; and when all had, for a time, tired of dancing, they 
assembled round their guest, who, of his own accord, struck 
up many a ranting song, and, by his humour, made the 
laugh resound through the barn. So fond grew they of 
his song and his jokes, that they felt no inclination, for a 
time, to resume again the dance. They drank and laughed, 
and screamed at every new sally of his wit, and every 
humorous turn of his song; and no one knows how long 
this scene might have lasted for the gaberlunzie seemed 
inexhaustible when a sound of horses' feet at the door, 
claimed the attention of the revellers, and some one cried 
out that a party of horsemen were come to demand the 
body of a thief, who had that day, at Dunse, stolen the 
silver mace of King James, and was suspected to be at this 
Maiden, under the assumed dress of a wandering piper. 

" That is the man," cried a belted knight, as, having 
dismounted, he trod forward into the middle of the barn, 
and pointed to the happy gaberlunzie, who had that in- 
stant finished his song. 

<f Ye lee," answered the beggar, in an instant, as he 
stood up, surrounded by his friends. 

"Ha, sirrah!" answered the stranger, "this boldness 
will avail thee nothing. I know thee ; and these, thy new- 
made friends, will not save thee from the execution of our 
orders. There are witnesses against thee, who saw thee 
steal the silver mace. Forward, ye sooth-saying men !" 

Two men entered, dressed nearly in the same style as 
the first, and bearing all the marks and insignia of the rade 
of Knights. 

" Is not this the thief?" inquired the first. 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



"It is we will swear to him. He snatched the mace from 
the royal mace.bearer, in the streets of Dunse, and made 
off with it amidst the hue and cry of the populace, whose 
speed he outran as he would that of the greyhound." 

" Guid faith/' replied the guidman of Cairnkibbie, "if 
our friend ran as cleverly as he has danced this nicht, a' 
the greyhounds o the Merse wadna hae catched him." 

" Will ye gie me up to the beagles, freends," cried the 
beggar, " or will ye stand by him wha has sought yer pro- 
tection, and partaken o' yer hospitality ?" 

" Gie ye up !" ejaculated the spirited old farmer ; " in 
faith, na. If King Jamie war the Cham o' Tartary, or had 
three kings' heads on his shouthers in place o' ane, we'll 
defend ye while there's a flail in the barn o' Cairnkibbie." 

A shout of approbation followed the speech -of the old 
farmer. The maidens, whose chins still smarted from the 
rub of his jolly beard, flew for flail, and rung, and "hissil 
ryss," and in an instant every willing hand held a weapon. 

" We'll defend him to the last drap o' oor bluid," cried 
Will Carr, as he manfully stood forward, and brandished 
a huge hazel rung. 

" And, by my soul," cried the scaumer, Jock Hedderick ; 
" if we fecht as he'll fecht, whether for auld feid or new, 
noytit pows and broken banes will tell the fortune o' the 
nicht, lang before the play's played." 

" Ha, ha ! guidmen, and true guidmen, and true !" cried 
the beggar, undaunted and laughing; " thank ye, my 
hinny, Lilly, for this green kevel ! By the haly rude, come 
on now, ye silver-necklaced bull-dogs o' royalty : 

" The beggar was o' manly mak, 
To meet him was nae mows, 
There darena ten came him to tak, 
Sae noyt will he their pows." 

Ye should ken that sang, if ye hae lear aneugh in your 
steel-bound noddles. Come on, ye calroun caitiffs !" 

" Search his wallet," cried the foremost of the strangers ; 
and six or seven men rushed into the barn, and made 
direct for the window-sole pointed to by the chief; but 
Will Swan, and Will Carr, with half a dozen more stout 
hensures, flew forward and anticipated the searchers. 

" Give me my meal-pocks," cried the gaberlunzie ; and, 
having got hold of his wallet, he slung it over his shoulders, 
and, to the surprise of every one, took out the mace said 
to have been stolen, and, holding it in his left hand as a 
badge of his authority, continued, laughing like a cadger, 
to gibe the strangers 

" Beggars hae a king as weel as belted bannerets," he 
cried : " see ye my badge ? Ken ye wha ye seek ? Heard 
ye ne'er o' Wat Wilson the king o' the beggars, crowned 
on Hogmanay, on the Warlock's Hill near Dunse, in pre- 
sence o' a' the tribe o' kaukers and keelars, collected from 
Berwick to Lerwick. This is the beggar's badge. Tak it 
if ye dare. By ae wag o't, yer bairns will be kidnapped, 
your kye yeld, and your mithers' banes stricken wi' the 
black sickness." 

'' Guidman of Cairnkibbie," said the foremost knight, 
' thou hast now evidence in that bold beggar's own hand, 
that he hath stolen a part of the King's regalia an act of 
high treason, incurring death to him and all that give him 
shelter. Take the badge, examine it, and thou'lt find on 
it the royal arms. See to thy predicament. If I report 
a rescue, thou'rt ruined. James will punish thee as a 
resetter. These misguided men will fall in thy ruin, and 
sorely wilt thou repent having harboured and defended a 
thief and a vagabond. Wilt thou give him up, or must 
we take him at the expense of our blood and thine ?" 

" A' fair words," answered the guidman ; " but this 
beggar is our guest,' He says the badge is his ain, and 
truly I am bound to say that King Jamie himsel is nae 
mair like the King o' this auld land, than this jolly gaber- 
lunzie is like the king o' his tribe. Every Inch o'm's a 



king. He sings like a king, dances like a king, drinks 
like a king, and kisses the lasses like a king and, king as 
he is, feth we'll be his loyal subjects. What say ye, guid 
hearts ?" 

" The same, the same," cried many voices ; and a brand, 
ishing of flails and kevels shewed that they were deter- 
mined to act up to their pledge of defending the jolly 
gaberlunzie to the end. Matters now assumed a serious 
aspect. 

" Thy ruin be on thine own heads !" cried the chief of 
the strangers. " Draw for the rights of King James, claim 
our prisoner, and take him through the blood of rebels 
who dispute the authority of their King !"' 

The men from without now began to rush into the barn 
with drawn swords ; and seemed to expect that, when the 
steel was made apparent, no serious resistance would be 
offered. Their expectation, however, was vain ; for the 
hinds did not seem to fear the naked swords, and several 
of them had already aimed blows at the heads of the 
enemy. The beggar was moving to the right and to the 
left with great rapidity ; brandishing his huge kevel, and 
whispering something into the ears of his friends. The 
guidman was busy getting the women removed by a back 
door ; and, in the midst of all the uproar, there seemed some 
scheme in operation on the part of the defenders, which 
would either co-operate with their warlike defence, or 
render the shedding of blood unnecessary. The assailants 
clearly did not wish to use the glittering thirsty blades ; 
and continued to ward off the blows of the hinds, and to 
push them back, with a view to get hold of him who 
was the object of their search. He, in the meantime, 
*t was directing some secret operation with great adroitness 
and spirit. The confusion increased ; the size of the barn, 
and the pressure of the assailants forward, apparently with 
a view to take away the power of the long sticks, prevented 
in a great measure the full play of the hinds' arms, and 
some of the King's men were engaged in a powerful wrestle, 
with the intention of disarming the hinds, and thus achieving 
a victory without loss of blood ; but their efforts in this 
respect would have been attended with small success, if 
the tactics of the beggar had been a deadly contest. The 
assailants still pushed on, and it seemed that their op- 
ponents were fast receding, while the clanging of sticks 
on the swords, and the hard breathing and cries of those 
engaged, seemed to indicate a severe and equally-contested 
strife. The defendants were latterly pushed up to the 
very farthest end of the apartment, and it seemed apparent 
that, if they did not make a great effort to redeem their 
position, and acquire room for the circle of their staves, 
they must resign the contest. But an extraordinary evo- 
lution was now performed. The back door was opened ; 
in an instant, every hind disappeared from the faces of 
their foes ; the door was locked and bolted ; and the King's 
men turned to retrace their steps and seek the enemy out- 
side. That turn exposed their position, and the trick of 
the gaberlunzie. The front door was also shut, locked, 
and riveted. On every side they were shut in, confined 
in a dark barn, and all means of escape entirely cut off. 
It was in rain that they roared through the key-holes of 
the doors. The gaberlanzie, who regulated all the motions 
of the successful party, responded to them in words of 
cutting irony, and even set agoing the swelling notes of 
his pipes to celebrate his triumph by a pcean in the form 
of a pibroch. 

" Ye may tell yer King," he cried, loud enough for them 
to hear " that is, when ye get out, if ye ever experience 
that blessed fortune that he is not the only King in these 
realms. And surely Scotland is wide enough for twa. I 
hae my subjects, he has his ; an' Wat Wilson's no the 
potentate that wad ever interfere wi' Jamie Stuart, if Jamie 
Stuart will let alane Wat Wilson. If I happen to pass 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



Dunse on the morn, I shanna fail to report favourably o' yer 
prowess ; an', abune a', I shall tell him o' the condition o' 
his belted knichts how, 

" ' There was not ane o' them that day 

Could do ane ither's bidden, 
And there lie three and thretty knights 

Thrunland in ane midden.' 

Come now, my friends, we'll adjourn the feast to the 
ha', an' let the knights tak their nicht's rest in the barn, 
after a' the toil o' their desperate battle." 

A loud shout responded to the spirited speech of the 
gaberlunzie ; and the feelings of the kidnapped and dis- 
comfited men-at-arms, on hearing the triumph of the beggar, 
who had out- manoeuvred them, may be conceived, but 
could not well be expressed by an ordinary goose-quill. 
The guidman of Cairnkibbie took as hearty a laugh as the 
rest, at the trick thus successfully played off upon the 
King's men, and his laugh was nothing the less for the 
quantity of good ale he had drunk before the fray began, 
and without which potation, perhaps, he would not have 
patronised an act which might bring him into trouble. 
There was one thing that, even through the fumes of the 
ale, struck him as very remarkable the confined knights 
made scarcely any noise. There was no blustering or swear- 
ing of vengeance, nor threat of the King's displeasure, nor 
endeavours to break the doors. They submitted to their 
durance like lambs in a sheepfold, and seemed to have lost 
their spirits as well as courage, when they found themselves 
completely within the power of their enemy. "What could 
this mean? There was a mystery in it, which the farmer, who 
was an arch old fox, could not explain ; and when he put a 
question to the gaberlunzie, the answer increased his diffi- 
culty, for the beggar laughed, and attributed the quietness 
and meekness of the foes to the terror of his prowess, and 
the awe which his name inspired throughout a great part 
of Scotland. 

" This is the maist extraordinary deevil," said the far- 
mer to himself, " that it has been my fortune to meet. 
His dancing, roaring, rioting, drinking, piping, singing, 
joking, fechting, seem a' on a par ; an' nane o' them are beat 
by his power o' winning the hearts o' young an' auld. He 
has forced me to like him, will I or nill I ; an' my dochter 
Lilly, an' my guidwife Jean, are nae less fond o' him than 
I am. Here, noo, is oor Maiden broken up, my barn made 
a warhold, mysel a seneschal o' the King's troops, my head 
in a loop, an' my fortunes hanging in the wind o' the royal 
displeasure a' brocht aboot by a wanderin beggar, wha 
forced himsel into oor happy meeting at the very point o' 
the bauldest tongue that ever hung in man's head; an' 
yet sae soople that it has won the very hearts o' the men 
that strove to keep him oot, an' brocht me into the hardest 
scrape I ever was in in my life." 

Cogitating in this prudential way, the guidraan was* fast 
coming to the conclusion that he was in a position of great 
danger ; and that it was necessary that he should take the 
proper steps for freeing himself from the consequences of 
his imprudence as soon as it was possible. He turned 
round to look for the gaberlunzie, that he might commune 
with him on the prudence of letting the King's men free. 
The greater number of the men and women had gone into 
the house ; and some of them stood at a distance, their 
forms revealed by a glimpse of the moon, which, freed from 
a cloud, began to illumine the holms of Cairnkibbie. 

''Where is the beggar?" inquired the farmer at Will Carr. 

" "Where is the beggar ?" cried Will Carr to his neigh- 
bour. 

""Where is the gaberlunzie?" shouted several voices at 
once. 

The gaberlunzie was gone. Steenie Thornton said he 
saw a person mount one of the troopers' horses that stood 
at the door of the barn, and, turning round the corner of 
the steading, gallop off at the top of his speedi He 



thought it was one of the hinds, who was trying the mettle 
at the King's horses, and would return instantly, after he 
had indulged himself with a ride. Now it was apparent 
to all that it was the strange gaberlunzie himself. He had 
crowned all his extraordinary actions of the evening by 
stealing one of the horses of the King, or his knights, and, 
with meal-pocks, wallet, pipes, and stolen mace, was 
" owre the Borders and awa," and might never be seen or 
heard of again ; while the farmer, who now saw the extent 
of his danger, must stand the brunt of the King's vengeance, 
and be tried for forcing the King's messengers in the 
execution of their duty, for shutting them up in his barn, 
and stealing (for he would be charged with it) one of the 
horses, the property of his sovereign. The whole company 
now assembled around the farmer, whose position was 
apparent to the bluntest hind that ever danced at a 
Maiden. Some proposed to follow the beggar, and bring 
him back again; but he had already exhibited such a 
power of locomotive energy and daring spirit in the for- 
mer adventures of the evening, that it seemed vain to 
attempt to overtake him with the quickest steed that was 
at their command. The difficulty was great, and, 
apparently, insuperable ; and the whole scene enacted by 
the gaberlunzie appeared like a dream. The farmer swore 
against him mighty oaths, and directed against himself a 
part of the objurgatory declamation. But how was he to 
get out of the scrape ? If the doors were opened, and the 
armed knights let loose, the whole company might be 
slaughtered, in the fury of the enraged men-at-arms, who 
would attribute to the farmer and his men their discom- 
fiture, the loss of the thief, their confinement, and the loss 
of the horse. To keep them confined was also a fearful 
resource ; for they must be let out some time, and every 
minute of their confinement would add fuel to the flame of 
their resentment. Many opinions were given. Some 
were for getting assistance to enable them to stand on the 
defensive, against the expected attack, on the knights 
being let free. Some again were for striking a bargain 
" wi' the fou hand," as the saying goes, and letting the 
pursuers free, upon their word of a knight that they would 
not molest them. This latter plan seemed the best ; and 
a good addendum was made by the greatest simpleton of 
the whole meeting viz., that they should include in this 
act of amnesty the loss of the horse. The farmer proceeded 
to act upon this resolution. 

" We are friendly inclined to ye," said he, in a tone ot 
voice that might reach the prisoners. " Your enemy was 
that accursed gaberlunzie, wha maun be the very Deevil 
himsel ; for he it was wha blew us up against ye, and mane 
us, a parcel o' quiet men, fecht against the servants o' our 
lawfu King. The cunning rogue's awa, and left us to 
bear the dirdum o' his feint or folly ; and, a' ungeared as 
we are for war, we wish, withoot either dewyss or devilry, 
to ken the condition upon which ye will get yer liberty." 

A loud laugh from within was the reply to this speech. 
What next could this mean ? The farmer was confounded, 
the hinds stared, and every one looked at another. Here 
were men who, five minutes before, were fighting like 
devils, who had been deceived and confined, struck and 
ill-used, indulging in a good jolly laugh at the broaching of 
a question concerning their liberty. The mystery was 
increased, the affair was more extraordinary, the develope- 
ment more difficult and distant. 

" Ay, ay," continued the fanner, " ye may laugh ; 
but, maybe, the laugh may be on the ither side when ye 
get oot. This may be an assumed guid nature, to blind us. 
I'm as far ben as ye, though no in the barn. Come, come. 
It is a serious affair. Will ye pledge the honour o' a 
knight that, if I draw the bolts, ye'll let alane for let alane ?" 

" Surely, surely," was the ready reply and another laugh 
accompanied the condition 



38 



TALES OF THE BORDERS 



" Right merry prisoners, by my saul !" continued tlie 
farmer. " Will (hey laugh at the loss o their horse I 
wonder ?" (To his friends.) 

"That's a' very weel," he continued, in a higher voice. 
" I hae witnesses here to the pledge ; but I'm sorry to in- 
form ye tli at that Deevil o' a beggar, wha stole yer King's 
mace, is aff and awa, the Lord kens whar, wi' the best 
horse o' a' yer cavalcade. Will ye forgie this to the boot?" 

Another burst of laughter responded from the burn, 
mixed with cries of 

" Ay, ay ; never mind the horse. Let him go with the 
mace. The king of the beggars deserveth a steed." 

" "Weel, these are the maist pleasant faes I ever saw," 
said the farmer ; " but I hae a' my fears there's a decoy 
duck i' the pond. Ilaud firm yer kevels, friends, in case 
a' this guid nature may, like the blink o' an autumn sun, 
be followed by the fire-flaughts o' their revenge." 

The men stood prepared to fight, if necessary ; the bolts 
were withdrawn, and put came the knights, as merry as 
larks, making the air resound with their laughter. The 
farmer and his friends were still more amazed, as, for their 
very souls, they could see nothing in discomfiture and 
imprisonment to make any man laugh. But the fact was 
now certain, that the prisoners were right glad and hearty; 
and the sincerity of their good humour was to be tested in 
a manner that seemed as extraordinary as anything that 
had yet been witnessed on this eventful evening. Not one 
of them ever mentioned the beggar or the loss of the horse 
a circumstance remarkable enough ; and, not contented 
with this scrupulous regard of the treaty, the chief of 
them, slapping the farmer on the back, proposed that, as 
they had so unceremoniously broken up the sports of the 
evening, they should not depart till they saw the dancing 
again commenced, and till they each and every man of 
them should dance a reel with the blooming maidens they 
had seen on their entry. This request, though as remark- 
able as the former proceedings, was received with loud 
applause. The parties were again collected ; Tarn the 
piper again took his seat ; the ale flowed in its former 
abundance ; and, in a short time, the brave knights were 
seen tripping it gaily through the mazes of the merry 
dance. This was another change of the moral peristrephic 
panorama of that extraordinary evening ; and, as the farmer 
looked at the merry knights with their surtouts of green, 
and their buff baldricks and clanging swords, busy dancing 
in that very barn where they had, a few minutes before, 
been fighting like devils, he held up his hands in wonder, 
and would have moralized on the chances and changes of 
life, if a barn had been a proper place, a Maiden a proper 
occasion, and the hour of relief from a great evil a proper 
time for the indulgence of such fancies. 

The knights danced only for a very short time ; and there 
can be no doubt that they did their best to please themselves, 
and to exhibit to their host and his friends the greatest 
triumphs of the gay art ; but all their efforts only tended 
to bring into brighter contrast their best and most intricate 
evolutions, their highest and most joyous humours, their 
pleasantest and merriest tricks, with the devil -daring, 
jumping, roaring, laughing, kissing, and hugging of the 
jolly gaberlunzie, who outran all competitors in the pro- 
duction of fun as muf-h as ever did an Arab steed the plough- 
nag at a fair gallop. There was not a knight among them 
that could, as the saying goeth, " hold the candle to him ;" 
and as for the private opinions of the " damysells," the 
very best judges of the properties of man, they would not 
have given one hair in the beard of the jolly gaberlunzie 
for all the short crops of the chins of all the knights put 
together. His thefts and vagaries were lost, like spots on 
the sun, in the blaze of his convivial splendour ; and, coming 
and flying off like a comet, as he had done, he had left 
them in a darkness which nil the tiny lights of the good- 



natured crew of bannerets could not illumine beyond the 
twinkle that only served to exhibit more clearly theii 
gloom. Sic transit gloria mundi! they might never see 
his like again. 

The knights, after enjoying themselves in the manner 
we have mentioned, mounted their horses, (the one whoso 
steed was stolen, having borrowed one from the farmer,) 
and having been supplied with a good stirrup-cup, galloped 
away, without ever having said one word, either of good or 
evil, of the mysterious gaberlunzie of whom they came in 
search. The Maiden was finished soon after, and the guid- 
man of Cairnkibbie retired with his guidwife to rest, and 
in their waking moments to wonder at the strange events 
of the day. The fears of evil, resulting from his own con- 
duct, had in a great measure ceased ; but, alas ! they 
ceased only to be revived in the morning, and increased to 
a degree that made him still lament having forced the King's 
messengers, and harboured a thief. About eleven o'clock 
of the succeeding day, a horseman, booted and spurred, 
arrived in great haste at the door of the farm-house of 
Cairnkibbie, and requested to see the guidman. 

"What's your will, sir ?" said the farmer to the messenger, 
as he went to the door. 

" I bear his Highness the King's schedule, to be delivered 
to William Hume, the tenant of Cairnkibbie." 

" The King's schedule !" answered William, as he took 
the paper out of the messenger's hands ." what hae I dune 
to offend the King ?" 

" Read it," said the messenger ; and William com- 
plied. 

" These are to shew our high will and pleasor that 
whereas ane gaberlunzie, of the name of Wat Wilson, or 
at least ane wandering vagabond to whom that denomina- 
tion does by common use or courtesie effeir, did, in our guid 
toun of Dunse, on Wednesday last past, of this current 
month of October, when our servitors and officers marching 
rauk-on-raw, before and behint our person, reft frae the 
hands o' our mace-bearer, our mace of authority, fabricat 
of real siller, and embossed with dewysses of goold, whar- 
with he did flee trayterly to the protection and refuge of thee, 
William Hume, tenant of Cairnkibbie, wha, with thy 
tenants, domestics, and retainers, and others, did harbour 
him, even against our officers of justice, wham thou didst 
pummel, and lilc, and abuse in a maist shameful manner, 
and thereafter didst confine in ane auld barn the whyle 
thou didst let off the said gaberlunzie, and steal ane o' 
the very choicest horses o' our knights ; for all the whylk, 
thou (and eke thyaiders and abettors) shalt answer atom- 
present ambulatory Court, at our auld burgh of Dunse 
wherto thou art summonit by this schedule, to attend in the 
day after thou receivest this, at 12 of the forenoon ; whylk, if 
thou disregarded, thou shalt dree the punishment o our 

righteous vengeance. Given at Dunse this day of 

October 15 . JAMES R." 

lf The Lord hae mercy on the house o' Cairnkibbie !" 
ejaculated the farmer, as he road this fulmination of an 
incensed King's wrath. "What ami to do ? How can I face 
the King after abusing his officers, and harbouring the 
thief wha stole the royal mace, as weel as the horse o' his 
officer ? Can ye no intercede for me, sir, or at least gie 
me some advice how I am to act in this fearfu busi- 
ness ?" 

And the farmer stamped on the ground, and paced back 
wards and forwards in great distress. The officer who 
brought the schedule, seemed to sympathise with the un- 
happyman ; but, looking over to the door of the farm-house, 
and seeing Lilly standing on the landing-place, combing 
her fair locks, he smiled as if some hope for the unfortun- 
ate farmer had broken. in on his mind. 

u Is that your daughter ?" said he. 

" It is," answered the farmer ; " but that question has 



TALES OF THE BOKDERS. 



39 



rma' concern with this present misery that has overtaken 
the house o' her father." 

" More than thou thinkest,, mayhap," answered the horse- 
man. " Bring her with thee, man, to Court. The King 
cannot resist the appeal of beauty. If that fair wench will 
but hold up that face of hers, while thou settest forth thy 
defence, I'll guarantee thy liberation for a score of placks. 
But see thou attendest ; otherwise, messengers will be sent 
to force thy presence." 

Saying these words, the messenger clapped spurs to his 
horse, and was out of sight in an instant, leaving the poor 
farmer in a state of unabated terror. He went into the 
house, and reported the direful issue of last night's adven- 
ture to his wife and daughter. The sympathetic com- 
munications of their mutual fears increased their sorrow 
and apprehension, till the females burst into tears, and the 
guidman himself groaned, at the prospect of his inevitable 
ruin. During the day and the night, the subject formed 
the continual theme of their conversation ; and the terror 
of meeting the sovereign, the weakness of the defence, and 
the fear of ruinous consequences, alternated their influence 
over their clouded minds, without a moment's intermission 
of ease. The gu id wife was determined she would not 
leave her husband in the hands of his enemies ; Lilly agreed 
to accompany them, at the request of her father ; and Will 
Carr, with one or two of the farm-servants, were to go as 
exculpatory witnesses. The farmer had in his grief re- 
solved upon a candid defence. The truth, he was satisfied, 
might bring him off, while any attempt at concealment or 
falsification could not fail to hasten and increase the 
punishment he dreaded. At an early hour next day, the 
party were all on their way to Dunse ; the farmer dressed 
in his long blue coat and blue bonnet, his wife with her 
manky kirtle and high-crowned mutch, bedizened with 
large beaus of red ribbons ; and Lilly, with her " Lincolme 
gown" and wimple-bound hair, looking like the Queen of 
May herself. On their entry into the town of Dunse, they 
were met by two men having the appearance of officers, 
who claimed them in the King's name, as criminals, and con- 
ducted them to a small castle at the end of the town, at 
that time used as a garrison for the King's troops. After 
passing through a long passage (their hearts palpitating 
with terror and awe) they came to a room of a large and 
stately appearance, hung round, as they could see by their 
side glances for they were terrified to look up with loose 
hangings of rich cloth, whereon were many curious figures, 
that seemed to stand out apart from that on which they 
were set forth. About the middle of the room so far as 
they might guess by their oblique investigation they were 
seated on a species of " lang settle ;" and when they found 
themselves seated, they began (after drawing nearer and 
nearer to each other) to look up and around. 

There was a considerable number of individuals in the 
hall, some standing and some sitting, and all dressed in 
the most gorgeous style. On an elevated seat, covered by 
a temporary canopy of velvet, sat the august monarch of 
Scotland, the Fifth James ; and at his feet were three or four 
individuals in the habiliments of barons. All this was 
little suited to calming the beating hearts of the simple 
individuals who were so strangely situated. There was not 
(and the circumstance seemed strange) an ordinary individual 
present. Those who acted as officers were clearly knights, 
or high gentlemen in the confidence of the King. All was 
silence for a few minutes, when a loud voice called out 
the name of " William Hume." 

" Here," answered William, with a choking voice, while 
his wife and daughter shook till their very clothes rustled. 

" Stand up, sir," cried the same fearful voice again. 

William obeyed ; and now, unimaginable awe ! the voice 
of Majesty itself sounded through the hall. 

' Read the indictment, DpmpsterV* said the King. 



The indictment was accordingly read. 

" Is it true, sir," began his Majesty, " that tkou didst 
harbour this man called Wat Wilson, knowi- ig him to 
have stolen our mace, and thereafter didst be? t and con- 
fine our messengers, who were sent to apprehe; id him ?" 

Like many other timid witnesses, William Hume re- 
gained his self-possession the moment he was fairly com- 
mitted to giving evidence by a plain question /eing put to 
him. 

" I cam here this day," replied William, lo fking up and 
around him with increasing confidence, "to te 1 your High- 
ness God's truth. I canna deny the charge.' 

" Knowest thou the punishment of deforci .ig the King's 
messengers ?" rejoined the King. 

" No, yer Highness," replied William ; " but my fears 
tell me it's no sma'." 

" Hast thou anything to say in palliation of thy crime ?" 

" Owre muckle, I fear, yer Highness," ar ,ewered William 
" I say owre muckle ; for now, when I lo _>k back upon the 
dementit proceedings o' that nicht, I haT e almost come to 
the conclusion that that gaberlunzie whj has brought me 
into a' this trouble, was neither mair vior less than his 
august Majesty wha" 

" Who, who ?" cried the King impatiently ; while several 
of the lords began to laugh, and whisper, " He knows him, 
he knows him." 

" Than his august Majesty," continued William, ff wha 
haulds his court there there" (pointing his finger down- 
wards.) " To be plain, yer Highness, I do on my soul 
believe he wns the Deevil himsel !" 

The King laughed a loud laugh, and all the Barons burst 
fair out into a hearty "guffaw;" while some of them 
muttered, " A compliment a compliment, in good faith, to 
the King" a whisper which, if William Hume had heard, 
he might have construed into a hint that the gaberlunzie 
was no other than the King himself ; but, luckily for the 
naivete of William's testimony, he remained in his igno- 
rance. 

" What, man !" exclaimed the King, when he had again 
arranged his jaws into something like gravity " Dost 
thou believe he was the Devil ?" 

" Troth do I," replied William, now getting bolder by 
the laughter that had rung in his ears ; " and the mair I 
think o' him and his wild and wonderfu feiks and freits, 
the mair satisfied am I o't." 

William's adherence to his position produced another 
burst of merriment. 

"What did he do ?" continued the King,, " to entitle him 
to that character ? It would ill become us to punish a 
subject for the acts of the Evil One." 

" What did he no do, your Highness ?" ejaculated the 
farmer " he did everything the Deevil could do, and man 
couldna. We were hauldin our Maiden when he cam to 
the door, and were determined no to let him in ; but he 
turned a' oor hearts in an instant, and the enemies o' his 
entrance becam the friends o' his presence, Then began 
he to act his part : he played as nae man ever played; drank 
as nae man ever drank; danced, and made ithers dance, 
langer and blyther than ever man did on the^face o' this 
earth ; caught men's hearts like bullfinches wi' his sangs, 
the women's by the rub o' his beard ; and sent through a' 
and owre a' sic a glamour and witchery o' fun, and frolic, 
and enjoyment ay, and luve o' himsel that nae mortal 
cratur was ever seen to hae sic power since the days o 
Adam." 

William drew breath, and the King and lords again 
laughed heartily. 

" But a' that was naething," continued William ' I ma 
plain man, as ye may see and wha, looking at me, would 
say that a mortal gaberlunzie could twist me round Jus 
finger as easily as he could do a packthread ? Yet t 



40 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



beggar did that. Your Highness' troops cam to seize 
him. and wha before ever saw the guidman o' Cairnkibbie 
h arbour a thief ? The Deevil had thrown owre me and the 
hail menyie the charm o' his cantraps. We swore we 
would defend him ay, even though we saw the stowen 
mace in his hand ; we did defend him, and he had nae 
mair to do than to blaw in oor lugs, when clap went the 
barn-doors, and a' yer Highness' knights were imprisoned 
as if by magic. Could a beggar o' ordinar flesh and blude 
hae dune a' that, yer Highness ?" 

William again drew breath, and again the hall resounded 
with the laugh of the King and his Lords. 

" But even a' that was little or naething," continued 
William again ; " for to pay us for a' the guid we had dune 
him, he made himsel invisible, and rode aff like a fire- 
flaught on ane o' the knight's horses ; and frae that eventfu 
hour to this, we hae ne'er seen his face." 

" Art satisfied, my Lord of Ross f" said the King in a 
whisper, to a lord that sat beside him. " Is our wager 
won ? Have we, as we essayed, succeeded in our undertak- 
ing ? Have we, in the form of a beggar, so wrought upon 
the hearts of the members of a Maiden feast, as to gain 
their love to the extent of making them defend the 
gaberlunzie against the King's knights, inspiring them 
to fight, and win the day in a fought battle, and latterly 
riding home on one of the enemy's horses ? Ha ! ha ! we 
opine we have what say our judges ?" 

" The game is up," replied the Lord of Ross. " I acknow- 
ledge myself beat. Your Highness has won the day." 

Another laugh sealed the triumph of the King, and 
William Hume stared in amazement at the extraordinary 
mummery that was acted around him. 

" William Hume," said the King, (f this is an artifice, 
on thy part, to escape our vengeance. I go to put on the 
black cap, and to return to pronounce thy fate. Thou hast 
admitted the crime ; and to lay it on the Devil's back, is 
only the common way of the wicked.' 

Lilly, on hearing the mention of the black cap, screamed, 
the mother cried for mercy, and the thunderstruck farmer 
waited to receive his doom. The King went out, and re- 
turned in a short time in the cap of Wat Wilson, holding 
in his hand the stolen mace. A new light broke in upon 
the mind of the criminal he perceived at once the identity 
of the King and the beggar ; and the fears of all were in 
a moment dispelled. 

" Stand up, Lilly Hume and Will Carr," said the mon- 
arch. 

The voice of royalty sounded like a death-knell in the 
ears of the maiden. Her mind ran back to that eventful 
hour when she told the beggar the secret of her love ; and 
she felt even yet the hug of the King, and the royal kiss 
burning on her lips. She blushed to the temples, and 
could scarcely stand without the support of her father, who 
now, when he saw how the land lay, had recovered all his 
fortitude, with a portion of well-founded hope that the 
services he performed to the beggar-king would meet with 
their reward. 

" So your faither, Lilly, will not allow you to marry 
Will Carr," resumed James, " because he is puir ?" 

" Guid Lord !" muttered William to himsel '-hoo comes 
he to ken that too ? a family secret that I could scarcely 
breathe in my ain lug for its injustice, and now I see to be 
punished as it deserves." 

Lilly hung her head. She could not open her lips. The 
mention of her humble love by a king, and in the presence 
of nobles, was so far beyond the ordinary experience of her 
obscure life, and held such a contrast to the secret breath- 
ings of her affection in her stolen meetings with her lover 
among the broom knowes of Cairnkibbie, that she thought 
the world itself was undergoing some extraordinary con- 
vulsion. Turning round, she caught the eye of Will Carr, 



who, having more courage, infused some portion of his con- 
fidence into the blushing girl. 

" Is that true, AVilliam Hume?" rejoined James, who 
despaired of getting an answer from Lilly. 

" 'Deed, an' it's owre true, yer Highness," answered the 
farmer ; " but I thought there wasna a mortal on earth 
knew the circumstance but mysel and my wife ; for, beg- 
ging your Highness' pardon, I ivas ashamed to tell it to 
the lassie hersel, for fear she micht hae communicated it to 
Will's freends, wha are decent people, and canna help their 
poverty." 

"Dost thou still stand to thy objection to the match?" 
again asked James. 

" If your Royal Highness, as Wat Wilson," replied the 
farmer, smiling, (l could command me and the hail house- 
hold o' Cairnkibbie to do yer bidding, and turn us round 
your finger like a piece o' pack-thread, I micht hae sma 
chance o' resistin yer authority as King o' Scotland. 1 
hae nae objection noo to the match, seein that a King gies 
oot the bans." 

" William Hume," resumed the laughing monarch, 
" hear thy doom. For the love thou didst extend and 
shew to our roy^il person, we give thee a free grant of the 
lands of Cairnkibbie, upon this one condition that thou 
consentest to the union of Lilly Hume with Will Carr, to 
whom we shall, out of our royal purse, give, as a marriage 
portion, two hundred marks." 

'* I canna disobey the command o' Wat Wilson," replied 
William, with a dry smile. " He has already exercised 
great authority owre us a', and we winna throAv aff our alle- 
giance in this eventfu day." 

A general laugh wound up the scene. The young 
couple were married, and a merry wedding they had of it ; 
but there was one great exception to the general joy, and 
that was, that, although there was many a good dancer 
present, and Tarn Lutar was not absent, there was not to 
be seen or heard the jolly beggar who had, on the former 
occasion, been the soul of the Maiden. James became 
afterwards engaged in more serious concerns, and there 
were few who knew anything of his nocturnal exploit. 
The Humes were told to keep it a secret ; and the Lords 
who were present had too much regard for their King to 
expose his good-humoured eccentricities. When Hume 
became proprietor of Cairnkibbie, the people speculated; 
but little did they know, so well had the secret been kept, 
that the grant proceeded from the farmer's supposed mis- 
fortune, or that Wat Wilson the beggar, who danced so 
jovially at the Maiden, was the individual who had trans- 
formed William Hume from a simple farmer to one of the 
small Border lairds who held their heads so high in those 
days; and far less was it known that the same individual hat! 
brought about the marriage of Lilly Hume and Will Carr. 
Thus have we attempted to describe one of those wild 
frolics in which the young King James V. of Scotland 
occasionally indulged. If he had lived to an advanced 
age, his subjects might have had as much reason to admire 
the King as they had to love the royal gaberlunzie, who, 
wherever he took up his quarters, whether " in a house in 
Aberdeen," or in the barn of Cairnkibbie, sent the fire of 
his spirit of love and fun throughout all with which he 
came in contact. 




WILSON'S 

, UTra&itfonare, am* 3maatnati&e 



TALES OF THE BORDERS, 



AND OF SCOTLAND. 



THE LYKEWAKE. 

I KNOW no place where one may be brought acquainted 
with the more credulous beliefs of our forefathers at a less 
expense of inquiry and exertion, than in a country lyke- 
wake. The house of mourning is naturally a place of 
sombre thoughts and ghostly associations. There is some- 
thing too in the very presence and appearance of death, 
that leads one to think of the place and state of the dead. 
Cowper has finely said, that the man and the beast who 
stand together, side by side, on the same hill-top, are, not- 
withstanding their proximity, the denizens of very different 
worlds. And I have felt the remark to apply still more 
strongly when sitting beside the dead. The world of in- 
tellect and feeling in which we ourselves are, and of which 
the lower propensities of our nature form a province, 
may be regarded as including, in part at least, that world 
of passion and instinct in which the brute lives ; and we 
have but to analyze and abstract a little, to form for our- 
selves ideas of this latter world from even our own ex- 
perience. But by what process of thought can we bring 
experience to bear on the world of the dead ! It lies 
entirely beyond us a terra incognita of cloud and dark- 
ness ; and yet the thing at our side the thing over which 
we can stretch our hand the thing dead to us but living 
to it has entered upon it, and, however uninformed or 
ignorant before, knows more of its dark, and, to us, in- 
scrutable mysteries, than all our philosophers and all our 
divines. Is it wonder that we would fain put it to the 
question that we would fain catechise it, if we could, re- 
garding its newly-acquired experience that we should fill 
up the gaps in the dialogue which its silence leaves to us, 
by imparting to one another the little we know regarding 
its state and its place or that we should send our thoughts 
roaming in long excursions, to glean from the experience 
of the past all that it tells us of the occasional visits of the 
dead, and all that in their less taciturn and more social 
moments they have communicated to the living. And 
hence, from feelings so natural, and a train of associations 
so obvious, the character of a country lykewake and the 
cast of its stories I say a country lykewake, for in at 
least all our larger towns, where a cold and barren scepticism 
has chilled the feelings and imaginations of the people, 
without, I fear, much improving their judgments, the 
conversation on such occasions takes a lower and less 
interesting range. 

I once spent a night with a friend from the south, a man 
of an inquiring and highly philosophic cast of mind, at a 
lykewake in the upper part of the parish of Cromarty. I 
had excited his curiosity by an incidental remark or two of 
the kind I have just been dropping ; and, on his expressing 
a wish that I should introduce him, by way of illustration, 
to some such scene as I had been describing, we had set 
out together to the wake of an elderly female who had 
died that morning. Her cottage an humble creation of 
stone and lime was situated beside a thick fir-wood, on the 
edge of the solitary Mullbuy, one of the dreariest and most 
extensive commons in Scotland. We had to pass, in our 
ioumey, over several miles of desolate moor, sprinkled with 
162, VOL. IV. 



cairns and tumuli the memorials of some forgotten con- 
flict of the past ; we had to pass, too, through a thick, dark 
wood, with, here and there, an intervening marsh, whitened 
over with moss and lichens, and which, from this circum- 
stance, are known to the people of the country as the white 
bogs. Nor was the more distant landscape of a less gloomy 
character. On the one hand, there opened an interminable 
expanse of moor, that went stretching onwards, mile beyond 
mile, bleak, dreary, uninhabited, and uninhabitable, till it 
merged into the far horizon. On the other, there rose a 
range of blue, solitary hills, towering, as they receded, into 
loftier peaks and bolder acclivities, till they terminated on 
the snow-streaked Ben Weavis. The season, too, was in 
keeping with the scene. It was drawing towards the close 
of autumn ; and, as we passed through the wood, the falling 
leaves were eddying round us with every wind, or lay in 
rustling heaps at our feet. 

" I do not wonder," said my companion, " that the 
superstitions of so wild a district as this should bear in 
their character some marks of a corresponding wildness. 
Night itself, in a populous and cultivated country, is 
attended with less of the stern and the solemn then mid- 
day amid solitudes like these. Is the custom of watching 
beside the dead, of remote antiquity in this part of the 
country ?" 

" Far beyond the reach of either history or tradition," 
I said. " But it has gradually been changing its character 
as the people have been changing theirs ; and is now a very 
different thing from what it was a century ago. It is not 
yet ninety years since lykewakes in the neighbouring 
Highlands used to be celebrated with music and dancing ; 
and even here, on the borders of the low country, they 
used invariably, like the funerals of antiquity, to be the 
scenes of wild games and amusements, never introduced on 
any other occasion. You remember how Sir Walter 
describes the funeral of Athelstane. The Saxon ideas of 
condolence were the most natural imaginable. If grief 
was hungry, they supplied it with food ; if thirsty, they gave 
it drink. Our simple ancestors here seem to have reasoned 
by a similar process. They made their seasons of deepest 
grief, their times of greatest merriment ; and the more they 
regretted the deceased, the gayer were they at his wake and 
his funeral. A friend of mine, now dead, a very old man, 
has told me that he once danced at a lykewake in the 
Highlands of Sutherland. It was that of an active and 
very robust man, taken away from his wife and family ia 
the prime of life ; and the poor widow, for the greater 
part of the evening, sat disconsolate beside the fire, 
refusing every invitation to join the dancers. She was at 
length, however, brought out by the father of the deceased. 
' Little, little did he think/ he said, < that she would be 
the last to dance at poor Rory's lykewake.' " 

We reached the cottage, and went in. The apartment 
in which the dead lay was occupied by two men and three 
women. Every little piece of furniture it contained waa 
hung in white, and the floor had recently been swept and 
sanded ; but it was on the bed where the body lay, and on 
the body itself, that the greatest care had been lavished. 
The curtains had been taken down, and their place supplie 
by linen white aa snow ; and on the sheet that served as a 



42 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



counterpane, the body was laid out in a dress of white, 
fantastically crossed and recrossed in every direction, by 
scalloped fringes, and fretted into a species of open 
work, at least intended to represent alternate rows of roses 
and tulips. A plate, containing a little salt, was placed over 
the breast of the corpse. As we entered, one of the 
women rose ; and, filling two glasses with spirits, presented 
them to us on a salver. We tasted the liquor, and sat 
down on chairs placed for us beside the fire. The con- 
versation, which had been interrupted by our entrance, 
began to flow apace ; and an elderly female, who had 
lived under the same roof with the deceased, began to re- 
late, in answer to the queries of one of the others, some of 
the particulars of her last illness and death. 

THE STORY OF ELSPAT M'CULLOCH. 

" Elspat was aye," she said, " a retired body, wi' a cast 
o' decent pride aboot her ; an', though bare an' puirly aff 
sometimes, in her auld days, she had never been chargeable 
to onybody. She had come o' decent, 'sponsible people, 
though they were a' low enough the day ay, an' they 
were God-fearing people, too, wha had gien plenty in their 
time, an' had aye plenty to gie. An', though they had 
been a' langsyne laid in the kirkyard a' except hersel, 
puir body ! she woulclna disgrace their guid name, she said, 
by takin an alms frae ony ane. Her sma means fell oot 
o' her hands afore her last illness. Little had aye dune her 
turn but the little failed at last ; an' sair, sair thocht did 
it gie her, for a while, what was to come o' her. I could 
hear her, in the butt-end o' the hoose, ae mornin, mair 
earnest an' langer in her prayers than usual though she 
never neglected them, puir body ! an' a' the early part o' 
that day she seemed to be no weel. She was aye up an' 
down ; an' I could ance or twice hear her gaunting at the 
fireside ; but, when I went ben to her, an' asked what was 
the matter wi' her, she said she was just in her ordinar. 
She went oot for a wee ; an' what did I do but gang to 
her amry, for I jaloused a' wasna richt there ; an', oh ! 
it was a sair sicht to see, neebors ; but there was neither a 
bit o' bread nor a grain o' meal within its four corners 
naething but the sealed up greybeard, wi' the whisky, that, 
for twenty years an* mair, she had been keepin for her 
lykewake ; an', ye ken, it was oot o' the question to think 
that she would meddle wi' it. Weel did I scold her, when 
she cam in, for being sae close-minded. I asked her what 
harm I had ever, done to her, that she wad rather hae died 
than hae trusted her wants to me ; but, though she said 
nothing, I could see the tears in her ee ; an' sae I stopped, 
an' we took a late breakfast thegither at my fireside. 

" She tauld me that mornin that she weel kent she 
wouldna lang be a trouble to onybody. The day afore 
Had been Sabbath, an' every Sabbath morning, for the 
last ten years, her worthy neeboor the elder, whom they 
had buried only four days afore, used to call on her, in the 
passing on his way to the kirk. ' Come awa, Elspat,' he 
would say ; an' she used to be aye decent an' ready ; for 
she liked his conversation ; an' they aye gaed thegither 
to the kirk. She had been contracted, when a young lass, 
to a brither o* the elder's a stout, handsome lad ; but he 
had been ca'ed suddenly awa, atvveen the contract an' the 
marriage, an' Elspat, though she had afterwards mony a 
guid offer, had lived single for his sake. Weel, on the 
very morniu afore, just sax days after the elder's death, 
an' four after his burial, when Elspat was sittin dowie aside 
the fire, thinkin o' her guid auld neebor, the cry cam 
to the door just as it used to do; but, though the voice 
was the same, the words were a wee different. * Elspat,' 
it said, ' rnak ready, an' come awa.' She rose hastily to the 
window, an* there, sure enough, was the elder, turning the 
corner in Ms Sunday's bonnet an' his Sunday's coat- An' 



weel did she ken, she said, the meanin o' his call, an 
kindly did she tak it. An' if it was but God's wull that 
she suld hae enough to put her decently under the ground, 
without going in debt to any one, she would be weel con- 
tent. She had already the linen for the dead-dress, she 
said ; for she had span it for the purpose afore her contract 
wi' William, an' she had the whisky, too, for the wake ; 
but she had naething anent the coffin an' the bedral. 

" Weel, we took our breakfast, an' I didiny best to com- 
fort the puir body ; but she looked very down-hearted, for 
a' that. About the middle o' the day, in cam the minister's 
boy Avi' a letter. It was directed to his master, he said , 
but it was a' for Elspat ; an there was a five-pound note 
in it. It was frae a man who had left the country, mony, 
mony a year afore, a good deal in her faither's debt. You 
would hae thought the puir thing wad hae grat her een 
out when she saw the money ; but never was money mail 
thankfully received, or taen mair directly frae heaven. 
It set her aboon the warld, she said ; an' coming at the time 
it did, an estate o' a thousand a-year wadna be o' mair use 
to her. Next morning she didna rise, for her strength 
had failed her at ance, though she felt nae meikle pain, 
an' she sent me to get the note changed, an' to leave twenty 
shillings o't wi' the wright for a decent coffin, like her 
mither's, an' five shillings mair wi' the bedral, an' to tak in 
necessaries for a sick-bed wi' some o' the lave. Weel, I 
did that ; an' there's still twa pounds o' the note yonder in 
the little cupboard. 

" On the fifth morning after she had been taken sae ill, 1 
cam in till ask after her for my neebor here had relieved 
me o' that night's watchin, an' I had gotten to my bed. The 
moment I opened the door I saw that the hail room was hung 
in white, just as ye see it now : an' I'm sure it staid that 
way a minute or sae ; but when I winked it went awa. 
I kent there was a change no far off; an' when I went up 
to the bed, Elpat didna ken me. She was wirkin wi' her 
han' at the blankets, as if she were picking off 7 the little 
motes ; an' I could hear the beginning o' the dead rattle in 
her throat. I sat at her bedside, for a while, wi' my neebor 
here ; an' when she spoke to us, it was to say that the bed 
had grown hard and uneasy, and that she wished to be 
brought out to the chair. Weel, we indulged her, though we 
baith kent that it wasna in the bed the uneasiness lay. Her 
mind, puir body, was carried at the time : she just kent 
that there was to be a death an' a lykewake ; but no that 
the death an' the lykewake were to be her ain ; an' whan 
she looked at the bed, she bade us tak down the black cur- 
tains an' put up the white ; an' tauld us where the white 
were to be found. 

" 'But where is the corp?' she said ; ' it's no there where 
is the corp ?' 

" ' Elspat, it will be there vera soon,' said my neebor ; 
an' that satisfied her. 

" She cam to hersel an hour afore she departed. God 
had been very guid to her, she said, a her life lang, an' he 
hadna forsaken her at the last. He had been guid to her 
whan he had gien her friens, an' guid to her when he took 
them to himsel ; an' she kent she was now going to baith 
Him an' them. There wasna such a difference, she said, 
atween life an' death as folk were ready to think. She 
was sure that, though William had been ca'ed awa sud- 
denly, he hadna been ca'ed without being prepared ; an' 
now that her turn had come, an' that she was goin to 
meet wi' him, it was maybe as weel that he had left her 
early ; for, till she had lost him, she had been owre licht 
an' thochtless ; an' had it been her lot to hae lived in 
happiness wi' him, she micht hae remained light an* 
thochtless still. She bade us baith fareweel, an' thanked 
an' blesseed us ; an' her last breath went awa in a grayer 
no half an hour after. Puir, decent body ! But she's no 
puir now." 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



43 



na 

t 



T "A pretty portrait/' whispered my companion, "of one 
of a class fast wearing away. Nothing more interests me 
in the story than the woman's undoubting faith in the 
supernatural ; she does not even seem to know that what 
she believes so firmly herself, is so much as doubted by 
others. Try whether you can't bring up, by some means, 
a few other stories furnished with a similar machinery a 
story of the second sight, for instance." 

" The only way of accomplishing that," I replied, " is by 
contributing a story of the kind myself." 

" The vision of the room hung in white," I said, " re- 
minds me of a story related, about a hundred and fifty years 
ago, by a very learned and very ingenious countryman of 
ours George, first Earl of Cromarty. His Lordship, a 
steady Royalist, was engaged, shortly before the Restoration, 
( he was then, by the way, only Sir George Mackenzie,) 
in raising troops for the King, on his lands on the western 
coast of Ross-shire. There came on one of those days of 
rain and tempest so common in the district ; and Sir George, 
with some of his friends, were storm-bound in a solitary 
cottage, somewhere on the shores of Loch Broom. Towards 
evening, one of the party went out to look after their horses. 
He had been sitting beside Sir George, and the chair he 
had occupied remained empty. On Sir George's ser- 
vant, an elderly Highlander, coming in, he went up to 
his master, apparently much appalled, and, tapping him 
on the shoulder, urged him to rise. ' Rise !' he said, 
' rise ! There's a dead man sitting on the chair beside 
you.' The whole party immediately started to their feet ; but 
they saw only the empty chair. The dead man was visible 
to the Highlander alone. His head was bound up, he 
said, and his face streaked with blood, and one of his arms 
hung broken by his side, Next day, as a party of horse- 
men were passing along the steep side of a hill in the 
neighbourhood, one of the horses stumbled, and threw its 
rider ; and the man, grievously injured by the fall, was 
carried, in a state of insensibility, to the cottage. His head 
was deeply gashed, and one of his arms was broken, though 
he ultimately recovered ; and, on being brought to the 
cottage, he was placed, in a death-like swoon, in the iden- 
tical chair which the Highlander had seen occupied by the 
spectre. Sir George relates the story, with many a similar 
story besides, in a letter to the celebrated Robert Boyle." 

" I have perused it with much interest," said my friend, 
"and wonder our booksellers should have suffered it to 
become so scarce. Do you not remember the somewhat 
similar story his Lordship relates of the Highlander who 
saw the apparition of a troop of horse ride over the brow 
of a hill, and enter a field of oats, which, though it had 
been sown only a few days before, the horsemen seemed to 
cut down with their swords. He states that, a few months 
after, a troop of cavalry actually entered the same field, and 
carried away the produce, for fodder to their horses. He 
tells, too, if I remember aright, that on the same expedition 
to which your story belongs, one of his Highlanders, on en- 
tering a cottage, started back with horror ; he had met 
in the passage, he said, a dead man in his shroud, and saw 
people gathering for a funeral. And, as his Lordship 
relates, one of the inmates of the cottage, who was in per- 
fect health at the time of the vision, died suddenly only 
two days after." 

THE STORY OF DONALD GAIR. 

" The second sight," said an elderly man, who sat beside 
me, and whose countenance had struck me as highly ex- 
pressive of serious thought, " is fast wearing out of this 
part of the country. Nor should we much regret it, per- 
haps. It seemed, if I may so speak, as something outside 
the ordinary dispositions of Providence, and, with all the 
horror and unhappirss that attended it, served no ap- 



parent good end. I have been a traveller in my youth, 
masters. About thirty years ago, I served for some time 
m the navy. I entered on the first breaking out of the 
Revolutionary war, and was discharged during the short 
peace of 1801. One of my chief companions on shipboard, 
for the first few years, was a young man, a native of 
Sutherland, named Donald Gair. Donald, like most of 
his countrymen, was a staid, decent lad, of a rather melan- 
choly cast ; and yet there were occasions when he could be 
quite gay enough too. We sailed together in the Bedford, 
under Sir Thomas Baird ; and, after witnessing the mutiny 
at the Nore neither of us did much more than witness 
it, for in our case it merely transferred the command of 
the vessel from a very excellent captain to a set of low 
Irish Doctor's-list men we joined Admiral Duncan, then 
on the Dutch station. We were barely in time to take 
part in the great action. Donald had been unusually gay 
all the previous evening. We knew the Dutch had come 
out, and that there was to be an engagement on the mor- 
row ; and, though I felt no fear, the thought that I might 
have to stand in a few brief hours before my Maker and 
my Judge, had the effect of rendering me serious. But 
my companion seemed to have lost all command of himself; 
he sung, and leaped, and shouted not like one intoxi- 
cated there was nothing of intoxication about him but 
under the influence of a wild irrepressible flow of spirits. 
I took him seriously to task, and reminded him that we 
might both at that moment be standing on the verge of 
death and judgment. But he seemed more impressed 
by my remarking that, were his mother to see him, she 
would say he was fey. 

" We had never been in action before with our captain, 
Sir Thomas. He was a grave, and, I believe, God-fearing 
man, and much a favourite with, at least, all the better sea- 
men. But we had not yet made up our minds on his 
character indeed, no sailor ever does, with regard to his 
officers, till he knows how they fight ; and we were all 
curious to see how the parson, as we used to call him, would 
behave himself among the shot. But truly we might have 
had little fear for him. I have sailed with Nelson, and 
not Nelson himself ever shewed more courage or conduct 
than Sir Thomas in that action. He made us all lie down 
beside our guns, and steered us, without firing a shot, 
into the very thickest of the fight ; and, when we did open, 
masters, every broadside told with fearful effect. I never 
saw a man issue his commands with more coolness or self- 
possession. 

" There are none of our Continental neighbours who 
make better seamen, or who fight more doggedly than the 
Dutch. We were in a blaze of flame for four hours. Our 
rigging was slashed to pieces ; and two of our ports were 
actually knocked into one. There was one fierce, ill-natured 
Dutchman, in particular a fellow as black as night, with- 
out so much as a speck of paint or gilding about him, save 
that he had a red lion on the prow that fought us as long 
as he had a spar standing ; and, when he struck at last, 
fully one half the crew lay either dead or wounded on the 
decks, and all his scupper-holes were running blood as freely 
as ever they had done water at a deck-washing. The Bed- 
ford suffered nearly as severely. It is not in the heat of 
action that we can reckon on the loss we sustain. I saw 
my comrades falling around me falling by the terrible 
cannon shot, as they came crashing in through our sides ; 
I felt, too, that our gun wrought more heavily as our 
numbers were thinning around it; and, at times, when 
some sweeping chain-shot or fatal splinter laid open before 
me those horrible mysteries of the inner man' which nature 
so sedulously conceals, I \vas conscious of a momentary 
feeling of dread and horro^. But, in the prevailing mood, 
an unthinking anger, a dire thirsting after revenge, a dog- 
ged, unyielding firmness, were tho chief ingredients. 1 



TALES OF THE BOKDEKS 



strained every muscle and sinew ; and, amid the smoke, and 
the thunder, and the frightful carnage, fired aud loaded, 
and fired and loaded, and, with every discharge, sent out, 
as it were, the bitterness of my whole soul against the 
enemy. But very different were my feelings when 
victory declared in our favour, and, exhausted and un- 
strung, I looked abroad among the dead. As I crossed the 
deck, my feet literally splashed in blood ; and I saw the 
mangled fragments of human bodies sticking in horrid 
patches to the sides and the beams above. There was a 
fine little boy aboard, with whom I was an especial favourite. 
He had been engaged, before the action, in the construction 
of a toy ship, which he intended sending to his mother ; and 
I used sometimes to assist him, and to lend him a few 
simple tools ; and, just as we were bearing down on the 
enemy, he had come running up to me with a knife, which 
he had borrowed from me a short time before. 

" ' Alick, Alick,' he said, ' I have brought you your knife ; 
we are going into action, you know, and I may be killed, 
and then you would lose it.' 

" Poor little fellow ! The first body I recognised was 
his. Both his arms had been fearfully shattered by a can- 
non shot, and the surgeon's tourniquets, which had been 
fastened below the shoulders, were still there ; but he had 
expired ere the amputating knife had been applied. As I 
stood beside the body little in love with war, masters a 
comrade came up to me to say that my friend and country- 
man, Donald Gair, lay mortally wounded in the cockpit. 
I went instantly down to him. But never shall I forget, 
though never may I attempt to describe, what I witnessed 
that day, in that frightful scene of death and suffering. 
Donald lay in a low hammock, raised not a foot over the 
deck ; and there was no one beside him, for the surgeons had 
seen at a glance the hopelessness of his case, and were 
busied about others of whom they had hope. He lay on 
his back, breathing very hard, but perfectly insensible ; and 
in the middle of his forehead there was a round, little hole, 
without so much as a speck of blood about it, where a musket 
bullet had passed through the brain. He continued to 
breathe for about two hours ; and, when he expired, I 
wrapped the body decently up in a hammock, and saw it 
committed to the deep. The years passed ; and, after 
looking death in the face in many a storm and many a 
battle, peace was proclaimed, and I returned to my friends 
and my country. 

" A few weeks after my arrival, an elderly Highland 
woman, who had travelled all the way from the farther 
side of Loch Shin to see^me, came to our door. She was the 
mother of Donald Gair, and had taken her melancholy 
journey to hear from me all she might regarding the last 
moments and death of her son. She had no English, and 
I had not Gaelic enough to converse with her; but my 
mother, who had received her with a sympathy all the 
deeper from the thought that her own son might have 
been now in Donald's place, served as our interpreter. 
She was strangely inquisitive, though the little she heard 
served only to increase her grief; ahd you may believe it 
was not much I could find heart to tell her ; for what was 
there in the circumstances of my comrade's death to afford 
pleasure to his mother? And so I waved her questions 
regarding his wound and his burial as I best could. 

" ' Ah,' said the poor woman to my mother, ' he need not 
be afraid to tell me all. I know too, to'o well that my Donald's 
body was thrown into the sea ; I knew of it long ere it 
happened ; and I have long tried to reconcile my mind to 
it tried when he was a boy even ; and so you need not 
be afraid to tell me now.' 

" ' And how,' asked my mother, whose curiosity was ex- 
cited, ' could you have thought of it so early ?' 

" ' I lived/ rejoined the woman, ' at the time of Donald's 
birth in a lonely shieling among the Sutherland hills a 



full day's journey from the nearest church. It was a long, 
weary road, over moors and mosses. It was in the winter 
season, too, when the days are short ; and so, in bringing 
Donald to be baptized, we had to remain a night by the 
way, in the house of a friend. We there found an old 
woman of so peculiar an appearance that, when she asked 
me for the child, I at first declined giving it, fearing she 
was mad, and might do it harm. The people of the house, 
however, assured me she was incapable of hurting it ; and 
so I placed it on her lap. She took it up in her arms, and 
began to sing to it ; but it was such a song as none of us 
had ever heard before. 

" ' Poor little stranger !' she said, ' thou hast come into the 
world in an evil time. The mists are on the hills, gloomy 
and dark, and the rain lies chill on the heather ; and thou, 
poor little thing ! hast a long journey through the sharp, 
biting winds, and thou art helpless and cold. Oh ! but thy 
long after-journey is as dreary and dark. A wanderer shalt 
thou be over the land and the ocean ; and in the ocean 
shalt thou lie at last. Poor little thing ! I have waited for 
thee long. I saw thee in thy wanderings, and in thy shroud, 
ere thy mother brought thee to the door ; and the sounds 
of the sea, and of the deadly guns, are still ringing in my 
ears. Go, poor little thing ! to thy mother bitterly shall 
she yet weep for thee and no wonder ; but no one shall 
ever weep over thy grave, or mark where thou liest amid 
the deep green, with the shark and the seal.' 

" ' From that evening,' continued the mother of my 
friend, ' I have tried to reconcile my mind to what was 
to happen Donald. But, oh ! the fond, foolish heart ! I 
loved him more than any of his brothers, because I was to 
lose him soon; and though, when he left me, I took farewell 
of nim for ever, for I knew I was never, never to see him 
more, I felt, till the news reached me of his fall in battle, as 
if he were living in his coffin. But, oh, do tell me all you 
know of his death. I am old and weak, but I have travelled 
far, far to see you, that I might hear all ; and surely, for 
the regard you bore to Donald, you will not suffer me to 
return as I came.' 

" But I need not dwell longer on the story. I imparted 
to the poor woman all the circumstances of her son's death, as 
I have done to you ; and, shocking as they may seem, I found 
that she felt rather relieved than otherwise." 

" This is not quite the country of the second sight," said 
my friend ; " it is too much on the borders of the Lowlands. 
The gift seems restricted to the Highlands alone, and it is 
now fast wearing out even there." 

" And weel it is," said one of the men, " that it should be 
sae. It is surely a miserable thing to ken o' coming evil, if 
we just merely ken that it is coming, an' that come it 
must, do what we may. Hae ye ever heard the story o' 
the kelpy that wons in the Conan ?" 

My friend replied in the negative. 

THE STORY OF THE DOOMED RIDER. 

" The Conan," continued the man, ' ' is as bonny a river as 
we hae in a' the north country. There's mony a sweet 
sunny spot on its banks ; an' mony a time an' aft hae I 
waded through its shallows, whan a boy, to set my little 
scantling-line for the trouts an' the eels, or to gather the 
big pearl-muscles that lie sae thick in the fords. But its 
bonny wooded banks are places for enjoying the day in 
no for passing the nicht. I kenna how it is ; it's nane o' 
your wild streams that wander desolate through a desert 
country, like the Aven, or that come rushing do'wn in foam 
andthunder,owre broken rocks, like the Foye'rs, or that Aval- 
lowin darkness, deep, deep in the bowels o' the earth, like the 
fearfu Auldgraunt ; an' yet no ane o' these rivers has mair 
or frightfuller stories connected wi' it than the Conan 
Ane can hardlv saunter owre half-a-mile in its course, frae 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



here it leaves Contin till where it enters the sea, without 
passing owre the scene o' some frightful auld legend o' the 
kelpy or the water-wraith. And ane o' the maist frightful 
looking o' these places is to be found among the woods o' 
Conan-House. Ye enter a swampy meadow, that waves wi' 
flags an' rushes like a corn-field in harvest, an' see a hillock 
covered wi' willows rising like an island in the midst. There 
are thick mirk woods on ilka side ; the river, dark an' 
awesome, an' whirling round and round in mossy eddies, 
sweeps away behind it; an* there is an auld burying ground, 
wi' the broken ruins o' an auld Papist kirk, on the tap. 
Ane can still see amang the rougher stanesthe rose- wrought 
muliions of an arched window, an' the trough that ance 
held the haly water. About twa hunder years ago a wee 
mair maybe or a wee less, for ane canna be very sure o' the 
date o' thae auld stories the building was entire; an' a spot 
near it, whar the wood now grows thickest, was laid out in 
a corn-field. The marks o' the furrows may still be seen 
amang the trees. A party o' Highlanders were busily 
engaged, ae day in harvest, in cutting down the corn o' that 
field; an', just aboot noon, when the sun shone brightest an' 
they were busiest in the work, they heard a voice frae the 
river exclaim c The hour but not the man has come' Sure 
enough, on looking round, there was the kelpie stan'in in 
what they ca' a fause ford, just foment the auld kirk. There 
is a deep black pool baith aboon an' below, but i' the ford 
there's a bonny ripple, that shews, as ane might think, but 
little depth o' water ; an' just i' the middle o' that, in a 
place where a horse might swim, stood the kelpie. An' it 
again repeated its words ' The hour but not the man has 
come ;' an' then, flashing through the water like a drake, it 
disappeared in the lower pool. When the folk stood wonder- 
ing what the creature might mean, they saw a man on 
horseback come spurring down the hill in hot haste, making 
straight for the fause ford. They could then understand 
her words at ance ; an' four o' the stoutest o' them sprang 
oot frae amang the corn to warn him o' his danger, an' keep 
him back. An' sae they tauld him what they had seen an' 
heard, an' urged him either to turn back an' tak anither 
road, or stay for an hour or sae where he was. But he 
just wadna hear them, for he was baith unbelieving an' 
in haste, an' wauld hae taen the ford for a' they could say, 
hadna the Highlanders, determined on saving him whether 
he would or no, gathered round him an' pulled him frae 
his horse, an' then, to mak sure o' him, locked him up 
in the auld kirk. Weel, when the hour had gone by the 
fatal hour o' the kelpie they flung open the door, an' cried 
to him that he might noo gang on his journey. Ah ! but 
there was nae answer, though ; an* sae they cried a second 
time, an' there was nae answer still ; an' then they went 
in, an' found him lying stiff an' cauld on the floor, wi' his 
face buried in the water o' the very stone trough that we 
may still see among the ruins. His hour had come, an' he 
had fallen in a fit, as 'twould seem, head foremost among 
the water o' the trough, where he had been smoothered 
an' sae, ye see, the prophecy o' the kelpie availed nothing." 

" The very story," exclaimed my friend, " to which Sir 
Walter alludes, in one of the notes to ' The Heart of Mid- 
lothian.' The kelpie, you may remember, furnishes him 
with a motto to the chapter in which he describes the 
gathering of all Edinburgh to witness the execution of 
Porteous ; and their irrepressible wrath, on ascertaining 
that there was to be no execution ' The hour but not the 
man is come.' " 

"I remember making quite the same discovery," I 
replied, " aboxit twelve years ago, when I resided for seve- 
ral months on the banks of the Conan, not half a mile 
from the scene of the story. One might fill a little book 
with legends of the Conan. The fords of the river are 
dangerous, especially in the winter season; and, about thirty 
years ago, before the erection of the fine stone bridge below 



Conan House, scarcely a winter passed in which fatal 
accidents did not occur ; and these were almost invariably 
traced to the murderous malice of the water-wraith." 

" But who or what is the water-wraith ?" said my friend ; 
<f we heard just now of the kelpie, and it is the kelpie that 
Sir Walter quotes." 

" Ah," I replied, " but we must not confound the kelpie 
and the water-wraith, as has become the custom in these 
days of incredulity. No two spirits, though they were 
both spirits of the lake and the river, could be more dif- 
ferent. The kelpie invariably appeared in the form of a 
young horse ; the water- wraith in that of avery tall woman, 
dressed in green, with a withered, meagre countenance, 
ever distorted by a malignant scowl. It is the water-wraith, 
not the kelpie, whom Sir Walter should have quoted ; and 
yet I could tell you curious stories of the kelpie, too." 

" We must have them all," said my friend, " ere we 
part; meanwhile, I should like to hear some of youi 
stories of the Conan." 

" As related by me," I replied^ " you will find them 
rather meagre in their details. In my evening walks 
along the river, I have passed the ford a hundred times, 
out of which, only a twelvemonth before, as a traveller 
was entering it on a moonlight night, the water -wraith 
started up, not four yards in front of him, and pointed at 
him with her long skinny fingers, as if in mockery. I have 
leaned against the identical tree to which a poor High- 
lander clung, when, on fording the river by night, he was 
seized by the goblin. A lad who accompanied him, and 
who had succeeded in gaining the bank, strove to assist 
him, but in vain the poor man was dragged from his 
hold into the current, where he perished. The spot has 
been pointed out to me, too, in the opening of the river, 
where one of our Cromarty fishermen, who had anchored 
his yawl for the night, was laid hold of by the spectre 
when lying asleep on the beams, and almost dragged over 
the gunwale into the water. Our seafaring men still avoid 
dropping anchor, if they possibly can, after the sun has set, 
in what they term the fresh that is, in those upper parts 
of the Frith where the waters of the river predominate over 
those of the sea. 

" The scene of what is deemed one of the best-authenti- 
cated stories of the water-wraith, lies a few miles higher up 
the river. It is a deep, broad ford, through which horse- 
men, coming from the south, pass to Brahan Castle. A 
thick wood hangs over it on the one side ; on the other, it 
is skirted by a straggling line of alders and a bleak moor. 
On a winter night, about twenty-five years ago, a servant 
of the late Lord Seaforth had been drinking with some 
companions till a late hour, at a small house in the upper 
part of the moor ; and when the party broke up, he was 
accompanied by two of them to the ford. The moon was 
at full, and the river, though pretty deep in flood, seemed 
no way formidable to the servant ; he was a young, 
vigorous man, and mounted on a powerful horse ; and he 
had forded it, when half a yard higher on the bank, twenty 
times before. As he entered the ford, a thick cloud 
obscured the moon ; but his companions could see him 
guiding the animal ; he rode in a slanting direction across 
the stream, until he had reached nearly the middle, when a 
dark, tall figure seemed to start out of the water, and lay 
hold of him. There was a loud cry of distress and terror, 
and a frightful snorting and plunging of the horse ; a mo- 
ment passed, and the terrified animal was seen straining 
towards the opposite bank, and the ill-fated rider struggling 
in the stream. In a moment more he had disappeared. " 

THE STORY OF FAIRBURN'S GHOST. 

" I suld weel ken the Conan," said one of the women, 
who had not yet joined in the conversation " I was born on 



46 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



a stane's cast frae tlie side o't. My mother lived in her last 
days beside the auld Tower o' Fairb'urn, that start's sae like a 
ghaist aboon the river, an' looks down on a' its turns and wind- 
ing frae Contin to the sea; my father, too, for a twelvemonth 
or sae afore his death, had a boat on ane o' its ferries, for the 
crossing, on week days, o' passengers, an' o' the kirk-going 
folks on Sunday. He had a little bit farm beside the Conan ; 
an just got the boat by way o' eiking out his means for we 
had aye aneugh to do at rent-time, an' had, maybe, less than 
plenty through a' the rest o' the year, besides. Weel, for 
the first ten months or sae, the boat did brawly. The 
Castle o' Brahan is no half a mile frae the ferry, an' there 
were aye a hantle o' gran' folk comin and gangin frae the 
Mackenzie, an' my faither had the crossin o' them a'. An', 
besides, at Marti'mas, the kirk-going people used to send 
him firlots o' bear an' pecks o' oatmeal ; an' he soon began 
to find that the bit boat was to do mair towards paying 
the rent o' the farm than the farm itsel. 

" The Tower o' Fairburn is aboot a mile and a half aboon 
the ferry. It Stan's by itsel on the tap o' a heathery hill, 
an' there are twa higher hills behind it. Beyond, there 
spreads a black dreary desert, where ane micht wander a 
lang simmer's day withoot seeing the face o' a human 
creature, or the kindly smoke o' a lum. I daresay nane o' 
you hae heard hoo the Mackenzies o' Fairburn an' the 
Chisholms o' Strathglass parted that bit o' kintra atween 
them. Nane o' them could tell where the lands o' the ane 
ended or the ither began, an' they were that way for genera- 
tions, till they at last thocht them o' a plan o' division. 
Each o' them gat an auld wife o' seventy-five, an' they set 
them aff ae Monday, at the same time, the ane frae Erchless 
Castle, an' the other frae the Tower warning them, afore 
han', that the braidness o' their maisters' lands depended on 
their speed ; for where the twa would meet amang the 
hills, there would be the boundary. An' you may be sure 
that neither o' them lingered by the way that morning. 
They kent there was mony an ee on them, an' that their 
names would be spoken o' in the kintra-side lang after 
themsels were dead an' gane ; but it sae happened that 
Fairburn's carline, wha had been his nurse, was ane o' the 
slampest women in a' the north o' Scotland, young or auld ; 
an', though the ither did weel, she did sae meikle better 
that she had got owre twenty lang Highland miles or the 
ither had got owre fifteen. They say it was a droll sicht to 
see them at the meeting : they were baith tired almost to 
fainting ; but no sooner did they come in sicht o' ane anither, 
at the distance o' a mile or sae, than they began to run. 
An' they ran an' better ran, till they met at a little burnie ; 
an' there wad they hae focht, though they had ne'er seen 
ane anither atween the een afore, had they had strength 
eneugh left them ; but they had neither pith for fechtin, 
nor breath for scoldin, an' sae they just sat down an' girned 
at ane anither across the stripe. The Tower o' Fairburn is 
naething noo but a dismal ruin o' five broken stories the 
ane aboon the other an' the lands hae gane oot o' the auld 
family ; but the story o' the twa auld wives is a weel-kent 
story still. 

" The laird o' Fairburn, in my faither's time, was as fine an 
open-hearted gentleman as was in the hail country. He 
w as just particular guid to the puir ; but the family had 
ever been that ay, in their roughest days, even whan the 
Tower had neither door nor window in the lower story, an' 
only a wheen shot-holes in the story aboon. There wasna 
a puir thing in the kintra but had reason to bless the laird ; 
an' at ae time he had nae fewer than twelve puir orphans 
living aboot his hoose at ance. Nor was he in the least a 
proud, haughty man ; he wad chat for hours thegither wi' 
ane o' his puirest tenants ; an' ilka time he crossed the 
ferry, he wad tak my faither wi' him, for company just, may- 
be half a mile on his way out or hame. Weel, it was ae 
nicht aboot the end o' May a bonny nichtj an hour or sae 



after sun-down an' my faither was mooring his boat, afore 
going to bed, to an auld oak tree, when wha does he see 
but the laird o' Fairburn coming down the bank ? 'Od, 
thocht he, what can be taking the laird frae hame sae late 
as this? I thocht he had been no weel. The laird cam 
steppin into the boat, but, instead o' speakin frankly, as he 
used to do, he just waved his hand, as the proudest gentle- 
man in the kintra micht, an' pointed to the ither side. My 
faither rowed him across ; but, oh ! the boat felt unco dead 
an' heavy, an' the water stuck around the oars as gin it had 
been tar ; an' he had just aneuch ado, though there was 
but little tide in the river, to mak oot the ither side. The 
laird stepped oot, an' then stood, as he used to do, on the 
bank, to gie my faither time to fasten his boat an' come 
alang wi' him ; an', were it no for that, the puir man -vvadna 
hae thocht o' going wi' him that nicht ; but, as it was, he 
just moored his boat an' went. At first he thocht the 
laird must hae got some bad news that made him sae dull, 
an' sae he spoke on, to amuse him, aboot the weather an' 
the markets ; but he found he could get very little to 
say, an' he feJt as arc an' eerie in passing through the woods, 
as gin he had been passing alane through a kirkyard. He 
noticed, too, that there was a fearsome flichtering an' shriekin 
amang the birds that lodged in the tree taps aboon them ; 
an' that, as they passed the Talisoe, there was a colly on 
the tap o' a hilldtk that set up the awfulest yowling lie 
had ever heard. He stood for a while in sheer conster 
nation, but the laird beckoned him on, just as he had done 
at the river side, an' sae he gaed a bittie farther alang the 
wild rocky glen that opens into the deer-park. Bui, oh ! 
the fright that was amang the deer ! They had been lying 
asleep on the knolls, by sixes an' sevens, an' up they a 1 
started at ance, and gaed driving afFto the far end o' the park 
as if they couldna be fare eneugh frae my faither or the laird. 
"Weel, my faither stood again, an' the laird beckoned an 
beckoned as afore ; but, Gude tak us a' in keeping ! whan 
my faither looked up in his face, he saw it was the face o* 
a corp it was white an' stiff, an' the nose was thin an' 
sharp,an'therewasnaewinkingwi'thewide open een. Gude 
preserve us ! my faither didna ken where he was stan'in . 
didna ken what he was doing ; an', though he kept his feet, 
he was just in a kind o' swarf, like. The laird spoke twa 
three words to him something aboot the orphans, he 
thocht; but he was in such a state that he couldna tell 
what ; an' whan he cam to himsel, the apparition was 
awa. It was a bonny clear nicht when they had crossed 
the Conan ; but there had been a gatherin o' black cluds i' 
the lift as they gaed, an' there noo cam on, in the clap o' a 
han', ane o' the fearsomest storms o' thunder an' lightning 
that was ever seen in the country. There was a thick 
gurly aik smashed to shivers owre my faither's head, though 
nane o' the splinters steered him ; an' whan he reached the 
river, it was roaring frae bank to brae like a little ocean ; 
for a water-spout had broken amang the hills, an' the trees 
it had torn doun wi' it were darting alang the current like 
arrows. He crossed in nae little danger, an' took to his 
bed ; an' though he rase an' went aboot his wark for twa 
three months after, he was never, never his ain man again. 
It was found that the laird had departed no five minutes 
afore his apparition had come to the ferry ; an' the very last 
words he had spoke but his mind was carried at the time 
was something aboot my faither." 

THE STORY OP THE LAND FACTOR. 

" There maun hae been something that weighed on his 
mind," remarked one of the women, " though your faither 
had nae pooer to get it frae him. I mind that, whan I 
was a lassie, there happened something o' the same kind. 
My faither had been a tacksman on the estate o' Black- 
hall ; an', as the land was sour an' wat, an' the seasons for 



TALES OJF THE BORDERS. 



a while, backward, he aye contrived for he was a hard- 
working, carefu man to keep us a' in meat and claith, and 
to meet wi' the factor. But, waes me ! he was sune taen 
frae us. In the middle o' the seed-time, there cam a bad 
fever intil the country ; an' the very first that died o't, was 
my pair faither. My mither did her best to keep the 
farm, an' haud us a' thegither. She got a carefu, decent 
lad to manage for her, an' her ain ee was on everything ; 
an' had it no been for the cruel, cruel factor, she micht hae 
dune gay weel. But never had the puir tenant a waur 
friend than Ranald Keilly. He was a toun writer, an' had 
made a sort o' livin, afore he got the factorship, just as toun 
writers do in ordinar. He used to be gettin the haud o' auld 
wives' posies when they died; an' there were aye some 
litigious, troublesome folk in the place, too, that kept him 
doing a little in the way o' troublin their neebors ; an' 
sometimes, when some daft, gowked man, o' mair means 
than sense, couldna mismanage his ain affairs enough, he got 
Keilly to mismanage them for him. An' sae he had picked up 
a bare livin in this way j but the factorship made him just 
a gentleman. But, oh, an ill use did he mak o' the power 
that it gied him owre puir, honest folk. Ye maun ken 
that, gin they were puir, he liked them a* the waur for 
being honest ; but, I dare say, that was natural enough for 
the like o' him. He contrived to be baith writer an' factor, 
ye see ; an' it wad just seem that his chief aim in the ae 
capacity, was to find employment for himsel in the ither. 
If a puir tenant was but a day behind-hand wi' his rent, he 
had creatures o' his ain that used to gang half-an'-half wi' 
hiro in their fees ; an' them he wad send aff to poind him ; 
an then, if the expenses o' the poinding werena forthcoming, 
as weel as what was owing to the master, he wad hae a 
roup o' the stocking tvva three days after ; an' anither 
account, as a man o' business, for that. An' when things 
were going dog-cheap as he took care that they should 
sometimes gang he used to buy them in for himsel, an' 
pairt wi' them again for maybe twice the money. The 
laird was a quiet, silly, good-natured man ; an', though he 
was tauld weel o' the factor at times ay, an' believed it 
too he just used to say ' Oh, puir Keilly, what wad 
he do gin I were to pairt wi' him ? He wad just starve.' 
An', oh, sirs, his pity for him was bitter cruelty to 
mony, mony a puir tenant, an' to my mither amang the 
lave. 

" The year after my faither's death, was cauld an' wat, 
an' oor stuff remained sae lang green, that we just thocht 
we wouldna get it cut ava. An' when we did get it cut, 
the stacks, for the first whilie, were aye heatin wi' us ; an', 
Vhen Marti'mas came, the grain was still saft an' milky, an' 
no' fit for the market. The term came round, an' there 
was little to gie the factor in the shape o' money, though 
there was baith corn an' cattle ; an' a' that we wanted was 
just a little time. Ah, but we had fa'en into the hands o' 
ane that never kent pity. My mither hadna the money gin, 
as it were, the day, an', on the morn, the messengers came 
to poind. The roup was no a week after ; an', oh ! it was 
a grievous sicht to see hoo the crop an' the cattle went for 
just naething. The farmers were a' puirly off wi' the late 
ha'rst, an' had nae money to spare ; an' sae the factor 
knocked in ilka thing to himsel, wi' hardly a bid against 
him. He was a rough-faced, little man, wi' a red, hooked 
nose a guid deal gien to whisky, an' vera wild an' 
desperate when he had taen a glass or twa aboon ordinar ; 
an', on the day o' the roup, he raged like a perfect mad- 
man. My mither spoke to him, again an' again, wi' the 
tear in her ee, an' implored him, for the sake o' the orphan 
an' the widow, no to harry hersel an' her bairns ; but he 
just cursed an' swore a' the mair, an' knocked down the 
stacks an' the kye a' the faster ; an' whan she spoke to 
him o' the ane aboon a', he said that Providence gied lang 
credit an' reckoned on a lang day, an' that he wald tak 



him intil his ain hands. Weel, the roup cam to an end, 
an' the sum^ o' the whole didna come to meikle mair nor 
the rent, an' clear the factor's lang lang account for ex- 
penses ; an' at nicht my mither was a ruined woman. The 
factor staid up late an' lang, drinking wi' some creatures o 
his ain, an' the last words he said on going to his bed was, 
that he hadna made a better day's wark for a twelvemonth! 
But, Gude tak us a' in keeping ! in the morning he was a 
corp a cauld, lifeless core, wi' a face as black as mv 
bannet. 

^ " Weel, he was buried, an' there was a grand character o' 
him putten in the newspapers, an' we a' thocht we were 
to hear nae mair aboot him. My mither got a wee bittie 
o' a house on the farm o' a neebor, an' there we lived 
dowie enough ; but she was aye an eiclent, working woman, 
an' she now span late an' early for some o' her auld freends, 
the farmers' wives ; an' her sair-won penny, wi' what we 
got frae kindly folk wha minded us in better times, kept 
us a' alive. Meanwhile, strange stories o' the dead factor 
began to gang aboot the kintra. First, his servants, it 
was said, were hearing arc, curious noises in his counting 
oifice. The door was baith locked an' sealed, waiting till 
his freends would cast up, for there were some doots aboot 
them ; but, locked an' sealed as it was, they could hear it 
opening an' shutting every nicht, an' hear a rustling among 
the papers, as gin there had been half-a-dozen writers 
scribblin among them at ance. An' then, Gude preserve 
us a' ! they could hear Keilly himsel as if he were dictat* 
ing to his clerk. An', last o' a', they could see him in 
the gloamin, nicht an' mornin, ganging aboot his hoose, 
wringing his hands, an' aye, aye muttering to himsel aboot 
roups an' poindings. The servant girls left the place to 
himsel ; an' the twa lads that wrought his farm an' slept in 
a hay loft, were sae disturbed, nicht after nicht, that they 
had just to leave it to himsel too. 

" My mither was ae nicht wi' some o' her spinnin at a 
neeborin farmer's a worthy, God-fearing man, an' an 
elder o' the kirk. It was in the simmer time, an' the 
nicht was bricht an' bonny ; but, in her backcoming, she 
had to pass the empty house o' the dead factor, an' the 
elder said that he would tak a step hame wi' her, for fear 
she michtna he that easy in her mind. An' the honest 
man did sae. Naething happened them in the passing, 
except that a dun cow, ance a great favourite o' my 
mither's, came up lowing to them, puir beast ! as gin she 
would hae better liked to be gaun hame wi' my mither 
than stay where she was. But the elder didna get aff sae 
easy in the backcoming. He was passing beside a thick 
hed'ge, when what does he see, but a man inside the hedge 
takiii step for step wi' him as he gaed ? The man wore 
a dun coat, an' had a huntin whip under his arm, an' walked, 
as the elder thought, very like what the dead factor used 
to do when he had gotten a glass or twa aboon ordinar 
Weel, they cam to a slap in the hedge, an' out cam the 
man at the slap ; an', Gude tak us a' in keepin ! it was, 
sure enough, the dead factor himsel. There were his 
hook nose, an' his rough, red face though it was, maybe, 
bluer noo than red ; an' there were the boots an' the dun 
coat he had worn at my mither's roup, an' the very whip 
he had lashed a puir gangrel woman wi' no a week afoie 
his death. He was muttering something to himsel ; but 
the elder could only hear a wordie noo an' then. 'Poind an' 
roup,' he would say poind an' roup ;' an' then there would 
come out a blatter o' curses ' Hell, hell! an' damn, damn!' 
The elder was a wee fear-stricken at first as wha wadna? 
but then the ill words, an' the way they were said, made 
him angry for he could never bear ill words withoot 
checking them an' sae he turned round wi' a stern brow, 
an' asked the appearance what it wanted, an' why it should 
hae comin to disturb the peace o' the kintra, and to disturb 
him ? It stood still at that ; an' said, wi' an awsorne grane, 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



that it couldna be quiet in the grave till there were some 
justice done to Widow Stuart. It then tauld him that 
there were forty gowd guineas in a secret drawer in his desk, 
that hadna been found, an' tauld him where to get them, 
an' that he wad need gang wi' the laird an' the minister to 
the drawer, an' gie them a' to the widow. It couldna hae 
rest till then, it said, nor wad the kintra hae rest either. 
It willed that the lave o' the gear should be gien to the 
puir o' the parish ; for nane o' the twa folk that laid claim 
to it had the shadow o' a right. An', wi' that, the appear- 
ance left him. It just went back through the slap in the 
hedge ; an', as it stepped owre the ditch, vanished in a puff 
o' smoke. 

" "Weel, but to cut short a lang story, the laird and the 
minister were at first gay slow o' belief no that they 
misdoubted the elder, but they thocht that he must hae 
been deceived by a sort o' wakin dream. But they soon 
changed their minds, for, sure enough, they found the forty 
guineas in the secret drawer. An' the news they got 
frae the south about Keilly, was just as the appearance 
had said no ane mair nor anither had a richt to his 
gear, for he had been a foundlin, an' had nae freens. An' 
sae my mither got the guineas, an' the parish got the rest, 
an' there was nae mair heard o' the apparition. We didna 
get back oor auld farm ; but the laird gae us a bittie that 
served oor turn as weel ; an', or my mither was ca'ed awa 
frae us, we were a' settled in the warld, an* doin for 
oorsels." 

THE STORY OF THE MEALMONGER. 

" It is wonderful," remarked the decent-looking, elderly 
man, who had contributed the story of Donald Gair " it 
is wonderful how long a recollection of that kind may live 
in the memory without one's knowing it is there. There 
is no possibility of one taking an inventory of one's recol- 
lections. They live unnoted and asleep, till roused by 
some likeness of themselves, and then up they start, and 
answer to it, as " face answereth to face in a glass." There 
comes a story into my mind, much like the last, that has 
lain there all unknown to me for the last thirty years, 
nor have I heard any one mention it since ; and yet, when 
3 was a boy, no story could be better known. You have 
all heard of the dear years that followed the harvest of 
'40, and how fearfully they bore on the poor. The 
scarcity, doubtless, came mainly from the hand of Provi- 
dence, and yet man had his share in it too. There were 
forestallers of the market, who gathered their miserable 
gains by heightening the already enormous price of victuals 
thus adding starvation to hunger ; and, among the best 
known and most execrated of these, was one M'Kechan, 
a residenter in the neighbouring parish. He was a hard- 
hearted, foul-spoken man ; and aften what he said, exas- 
parated the people as much against him as what he did. 
When, on one occasion, he bought up all the victuals on a 
market, there was a wringing of hands among the women, 
and they cursed him to his face ; but, when he added 
insult to injury, and told them, in his pride, that he had 
not left them an ounce to foul their teeth, they would that 
instant have taken his life, had not his horse carried him 
through. He was a mean, too, as well as a hard-hearted 
man, and used small measures and light weights. But 
he made money, and deemed himself in a fair way of 
gaining a character on the strength of that alone, when he 
was seized by a fever, and died after a few days' illness. 
Solomon tells us that, when the wicked perish, there is 
shouting there was little grief in the sheriffdom when 
M'Kechan died ; but his relatives buried him decently; 
and, in the course of the next fortnight, the meal fell two- 
pence the peck. You know the burying ground of St 
Bennet's the chapel has long since beeu ruinous, and a 



row of wasted elms, with white skeleton-looking tops, run 
around the enclosure, and look over the fields that sur- 
round it on every side. It lies out of the way of any 
thoroughfare, and months may sometimes pass, when 
burials are unfrequent, in which no one goes near it. It 
was in St Bennet's that M'Kechan was buried ; and the 
people about the farm-house that lies nearest it, were sur- 
prised, for the first month after his death, to see the figure 
of a man, evening and morning, just a few minutes before 
the sun had risen, and a few after it had set, walking 
round the yard, under the elms, three times, and always 
disappearing when it had taken the last turn, beside an 
old tomb near the gate. It was, of course, always clear 
daylight when they saw the figure ; and the month passed 
ere they could bring themselves to suppose it was other 
than a thing of flesh and blood like themselves. The 
strange regularity of its visits, however, at length bred 
suspicion ; and the farmer himself, a plain, decent man, of 
more true courage than men of twice the pretence, deter- 
mined, one evening, on watching it. He took his place 
outside the wall, a little before sunset, and no sooner had 
the red light died away on the elm tops, than up started 
the figure from among the ruins on the opposite side of the 
burying ground, and came onward in its round mutter- 
ing, incessantly, as it came ' Oh, for mercy sake ! for 
mercy sake !' it said, ' a handful of meal I am starving ! 
I am starving ! a handful of meal !' And then, chang- 
ing its tone into one still more doleful ' Oh,' it ex- 
claimed, ' alas, for the little lippie and the little peck ! 
alas, for the little lippie and the little peck !' As it 
passed, the farmer started up from his seat ; and there, 
sure enough, was M'Kechan, the corn factor, in his 
ordinary dress, and, except that he was thinner and paler 
than usual, like a man suffering from hunger, presenting 
nearly his ordinary appearance. The figure passed, with 
a slow, gliding sort of motion ; and, turning the farther cor- 
ner of the burying-ground, came onward in its second 
round ; but the farmer, though he had felt rather curious 
than afraid as it went by, found his heart fail him as it 
approached the second time, and, without waiting its coming 
up, set off homeward through the corn. The apparition 
continued to take its rounds, evening and morning, for 
about two months after, and then disappeared for ever. 
Mealmongers had to forget the story, and to grow a little 
less afraid, ere they could cheat with their accustomed 
coolness. Believe me, such beliefs, whatever may be 
thought of them in the present day, have not been without 
their use in the past." 

As the old man concluded his story, one of the women 
rose to a table in the little room, and replenished our 
glasses. We all drank in silence. 

" It is within an hour of midnight," said one of the men, 
looking at his watch ; " we had better recruit the fire and 
draw in our chairs ; the air aye feels chill at a lykewake 
or a burial. At this time to-morrow, we will be lifting 
the corpse." 

There was no reply. We all drew in our chairs nearer 

the fire, and for several minutes there was a pause in the 

conversation, but there were more stories to be told, and 

before the morning, many a spirit was evoked from the 

;rave, the vasty deep, and the Highland stream, whose 

istories we may yet give in a future number. 




WILSON'S 



TALES OF THE BORDERS, 



AND OF SCOTLAND. 



DONALD GORM. 

IN a remote corner of Assynt, one of the most remote and 
savage districts in the Highlands of Scotland, there is a 
certain wild and romantic glen, called Eddernahulish. In 
the picturesqueness of this glen, however, neither wood nor 
rock has any share ; arid, although it may be difficult to 
conceive of any place possessing that character without 
these ordinary adjuncts, it is yet, nevertheless, true, that 
Eddernahulish, with neither tree nor precipice, is yet strik- 
ingly picturesque. The wide sweep of the heath-clad hills 
whose gradual descents form the spacious glen, with the 
broad and brawling stream careering through its centre, 
give the place an air of solitude and of quiet repose that, 
notwithstanding its monotony, is exceedingy impressive. 

On gaining any of the many points of elevation that 
command a view of this desolate strath, you may descry, 
towards its western extremity, a small, rude, but massive 
stone bridge, grey with age ; for it was erected in the time 
of that Laird of Assynt who rendered himself for ever in- 
famous by betraying the Duke of Montrose, who had 
sought and obtained the promise of his protection, to his 
enemies. 

Close by this bridge stands a little Highland cottage, of, 
however, a considerably better order than the common run 
of such domiciles in this quarter of the world; and be- 
speaking a condition, as to circumstances, on the part of its 
occupants, which is by no means general in the Highlands. 

" Well, what of this cottage ?" says the impatient reader. 

"What of it?" say we, with the proud consciousness of 
having something worth hearing to tell of it. "Why, was 
it not the birthplace of Donald Gorm ?" 

" And, pray, who or what was Donald Gorm?" 

" We were just going to tell you when you interrupted 
us ; and we will now proceed to the fulfilment of that 
intention." 

Donald Gorm was a rough, rattling, outspoken, hot-headed, 
and warm-hearted Highlander, of about two-and-thirty years 
of age. Bold as a lion, and strong as a rhinoceros, with 
great bodily activity, he feared nobody ; and having all the 
irascibility of his race, would fight with anybody at a 
moment's notice. Possessing naturally a great flow of 
animal spirits and much ready wit, Donald was the life 
and soul of every merry-making in which he bore a part. 
In the dance, his joyous whoop and haloo might be heard 
a mile off; and the hilarous crack of his finger and thumb, 
nearly a third of that distance. Donald, in short, was one 
of those choice spirits that are always r^ady for anything, 
and who, by the force of their individual energies, can 
keep a whole country-side in a stir. As to his occupations, 
Donald's were various sometimes farming, (assisting his 
father, with whom he lived,) sometimes herring fishing, and 
sometimes taking a turn at harvest work in the Lowlands 
by which industry he had scraped a few pounds together ; 
and, being unmarried, with no one to care for but himself, 
he was thus comparatively independent a circumstance 
which kept Donald's head at its highest elevation, and his 
voice, when he spoke, at the top of its bent. 

The tenor of our story requires that we should now 
163. VOL. IV. 



advert to another member of Donald's family. This is a 
brother of the latter's, who bore the euphonious, and high, 
flavoured patronymic of Duncan Dhu M'Tavish Gorm, 
or, simply, Duncan Gorm, as he was, for shortness, called, 
although certainly baptized by the formidable list of names 
just given. 

This Duncan Gorm was a man of totally different 
character from his brother Donald. He was 'of a quiel 
and peaceable disposition and demeanour steady, sober, 
and conscientious ; qualities which were thought to adapt 
him well for the line of life in which he was placed. 
This was as a domestic servant in the family of an ex- 
tensive Highland proprietor, of the name of Grant. In 
this capacity Duncan had, about a year or so previous to 
the precise period when our story commences which, by 
the way, we beg the reader to observe, is now some ninety 
years past gone to the Continent, as a personal attendant 
on the elder son of his master, whose physicians had re- 
commended his going abroad for the benefit of his health. 

It was, then, about a year after the departure of Duncan 
and his master, that Donald's father received a letter from 
his son, intimating the death of his young master, which 
had taken place at Madrid, and, what was much more sur- 
prising intelligence, that the writer had determined on 
settling in the city just named, as keeper of a tavern or 
wine-house, in which calling he said he had no doubt he 
would do well; and he was not mistaken. In about 
six months after, his family received another letter from 
him, informing them that he was succeeding beyond his 
most sanguine expectations and hereby hangs our tale. 

On Donald these letters of his brother's made a very 
strong impression ; and, finally, had the effect of inducing 
him to adopt a very strange and very bold resolution. 
This was neither more nor less than to join his brother in 
Madrid a resolution from which it was found impossible 
to dissuade him, especially after the receipt of Duncan's 
second letter, giving intimation of his success. 

With most confused and utterly inadequate notions, 
therefore, of either the nature, or distance, or position of 
the country to which he was going, Donald made pre- 
parations for his journey. But they were merely such 
preparations as he would have made for a descent on the 
Lowlands, at harvest time. He put up some night* 
caps, stockings, and shirts in a bundle, with a quantity of 
bread and cheese, and a small flask of his native mountain 
dew. This bundle he proposed to suspend, in the usual 
way, over his shoulder, on the end of a huge oak stick, 
which he had carefully selected for the purpose. And it 
was thus prepared with, however, an extra supply of his 
earnings in his pocket, of which he had a vague notion he 
would stand in need that Donald contemplated com- 
mencing his journey to Madrid, from the heart of the 
Highlands of Scotland. In one important particular, how- 
ever, did Donald's outfit, on this occasion, differ froni that 
adopted on ordinary occasions. On the present, he equipped 
himself in the full costume of his country kilt, plaid, 
bonnet and feather, sword, dirk, and pistols ; and thus 
arrayed, his appearance was altogether very striking, as he 
was both a stout and exceedingly handsome man. 

Before starting on his extraordinary expedition, Donald 



K 



TAL . 11DERS. 



had learned which was the fittest seaport whereat to em- 
bark on his progress to Spain ; and it was nearly all he had 
learned, or indeed cared to inquire about, as to the place 
cf his destination. For this port, then, he finally set out ; 
but over his proceedings, for somewhere about three weeks 
after this, there is a veil, which our want of knowledge of 
facts and circumstances will not enable us to withdraw. 
Of all subsequent to this, however, we are amply informed ; 
and shall now proceed to give the reader the foil benefit 
of that information. 

Heaven knows how Donald had fought his way to Madrid, 
or what particular route be had taken to attain this consum- 
mation ; but certain it is, that, about the end of the three 
weeks mentioned, the identical Donald Gorm of whom we 
speak, kilted and hosed as ne left Eddernahtilish,withahnge 
stick over his shoulder, bearing a bun die suspended on its far. 
thest extremity, was seen, early in the afternoon, approach, 
ing the gate of Aleala, one of the principal and most splendid 
entrances into the Spanish capital. Donald was staring 
bout him, and at everything he saw, with a look of the 
wonder and amazement; and strange were the 



impressions that the peculiar dresses of those he met, and 
the odd appearance of the buildings within his view, made 
upon his unsophisticated mind and bewildered sensorium. 

He, in truth, felt very much as if he had, by some 
accident, got into the moon, or some other planet than that 
of which he was a born inhabitant, and as if the beings 
around him were human only in form and feature. The 
perplexity and confusion of his ideas were, indeed, great 
so great that he found it impossible to reduce them to 
such order as to give him one single distinct impression. 
There were, however, two paints in Donald's character, 
which remained wholly unaffected by the novelty of his 
position. These were his courage and bold bearing. Not 
aU Spain, nor all that was in Spain, could have deprived 
Donald of these for a moment. He was amazed, but not 
in the least awed. He was, in truth, looking rather fiercer 
than usual, at this particular juncture, in consequence of a 
certain feeling of irritation, caused by what he deemed the 
impertinent curiosity of the passers-by, who, no less 
truck with his strange appearance than he with theirs, 
weie gazing and tittering at him from all sides treatment 
this, at which Donald thought fit to take mortal offence. 
Having arrived, however, at the gate of Alral^ Donald 
thought it full time to make some inquiries as to where 
his relative resided. Feeling impressed with the pro- 
priety of this step, he made up to a group of idle, equivo- 
cal-looking fellows, who, wrapped up in long but sadly 
dilapidated cloaks, were lounging about the gate; and, 
plunging boldly into the middle of them, he delivered him- 
self thus, in his best KngKJi : . 

" I saj, freens, did you'll know, any of you, where my 
broder stops?" 

The men, as might be expected, first stared at the 
speaker, and then burst out a- laughing in his face. They, 
of course, could not comprehend a word of what he said ; 
a circumstance on the possibility of which it had never 
struck Donald to calculate, and to which he did not now 
advert. Great, therefore, was his wrath, at this, apparently, 
contemptuous treatment by the Spaniards. His Highland 
Hood mounted to his face, and with the same rapidity 
rose his Highland choler. Donald, in truth, already 
conlemphfed doing battle in defence of his insulted con- 
sequence, and at once hung out his flag of ^f^ 1 *? 

* You tarn scarecrow-lookin rascals T he sputtered out, 
in great fury, at the same time slaving his huge clenched 
brown fist in the faces of the whole group, their numbers 
not in the least checking bis impetuosity " You cowartly, 
starvation-like togs ! I've a goot mind to make smashed 
potatoes o' the whole boHia o' ye. Tarn TOUT Spanish noses 

i v_ mm 

a-c ^Tiuiitr; . 



The fierce and determined air of Donald had die effect ot 
instantly restoring the gravity of the Spaniards, who. 
totally at a loss to comprehend what class of the human 
species he represented, looked at him with a mingled ex- 
pression of astonishment and respect. At length, one of 
their number discharged a volley of his native language at 
Donald; but it was, apparently, of civil and good-natured 
import, for it was delivered in a mild tone, and accom- 
panied by a ftmtfSKattaj smile. On Donald, the language 
was, of course, utterly lost he did not comprehend a 
word of it ; but not so the indications of a friendly disposi- 
tion to which we have alluded ; these he at once ap- 
preciated, and they had the effect of allaying his wrath a 
little, and inducing him to inalrg another attnaiit at a 
little civil colloquy. 

** Well," said Donald, now somewhat more calmly, " I 
was shnst ask you a ceevil question, an' you laugh in my/ 
face, which is not ceeviL In my country we don't do that 
to anybody, far less a stranger. Xoo, may pe, you'll not 
know my broder, and there's no harm in that none aft 
all ; but you should shust hare say so at once, an' there 
would pe no more apout it. Can none of you speak 
Gaelic?" 

To this inquiry, which was understood to be such, there 
was a general shaking of heads amongst the Spaniards. 

" Oich, oich, it must pe a tarn strange country where 
there's no Gaelic. But nevermind you cannot help your 
misfortunes. I say, lads, will ye teuk a tram? Hooch, 
hurra ! prof, prof! Let's get a tram." And Donald flung up 
one of his legs hSarously, while he gave utterance to these 
uncouth expletives, which he did in short, joyous shouts. 
" Where will we go, lads? Did you'll know any decen' 
public-house, where well can depend on a goot tram ?" 

To this invitation, and to the string of queries by which it 
was accompanied, Donald got in reply only a repetition cf 



that shake of the head which inti 



- 



rttartfcal 



But it was an instance of the k 
than all the others. 

WelL to be surely," he said, rt if a 
stand the offer of a tram, hell understand 
no use saying more. Put maybe you'll 



L 



11 not under, 
thine, and it's 
the sign, 



if not the word." And, saying this, he raised his dosed 
hand to his lips and threw back his head, as if taking off 
a caulker of his own mountain dew ; pointing, at the same 
time, to a house which seemed to him to have the appear- 
ance of one of public entertainment. To Donald's great satis- 
faction, he found that he had now made himself perfectly 
intelligible ; a fact which he recognised in the ymiVy ait^Trnft 
of his auditory, and, still more unequivocally, in the general 
movement which they made after him to the" public- house," 
to which he immfttHati^y directed his steps. 

At the head, then, of this troop of tatterdemaHions, and 
walking with as stately a step as a drum-major, Donald 
may be said to have made his entrance into Madrid ; and 
rather an odd first appearance of that worthy there, it cer- 
tainly was. On entering th> tat em or inn which he had 
destined for the scene of his hospitalities, and which he 
did much in the same style that he would have entered a 

Cbfic-house in Lochaber namely, slapping the first person 
met on the shoulder, and shouting some merry greeting 
or other appropriate to the occasion This precisely, 
Donald did in tile present instance, to the great amazement 
larm of a very pretty Spanish girl, who was perform- 
the duty of uthVring in customers, inclusive of that of 
tenth/ supplying their wants. On feeling the 



and 



mous paw of Donald on her shoulder, and looking at the 
strange attire in which he was arrayed, the girl uttered a 
scream of terror, and fled into the interior of tke house. 
Unaccustomed to hare his rude but hearty greetings re- 
ceived in this way, or to find them producing an effect so 
contrary to that which, in his honest warm-neart edness. 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



51 



he intended them to produce, Donald was rather taken 
aback by the alarm expressed by the girl ; but soon re- 
covering his presence of mind 

" Oich, oich !" he said, laughing, and turning to his 
ragged crew behind him, " ta lassie's frightened for Shon 
Heelanman. Puir thing ! It's weel seen she's no peen 
procht up in Lochaber, or maype's no been lang in the 
way o' kcepin a public. It's 

" ' Haut awa, bite awn, 

Haut awa frae me, Tonal ; 
What care I for a' your wealth, 

An' a' that ye can gie, Tonal ?' " 

And, chanting this stanza of a well-known Scottish ditty, 
at the top of his voice, Donald bounced into the first open 
door he could find, still followed by his tail. These having 
taken their seats around a table which stood in the centre 
of the apartment, he next commenced a series of thunder- 
ing raps on the board with the hilt of his dirk, accompanied 
by stentorian shouts of " Hoy, lassie ! House, here ! 
Hoy, hoy, hoy !" a summons which was eventually 
answered by the landlord in person, the girl's report of 
Donald's appearance and salutation to herself having de- 
terred any other of the household from obeying the call 
of so wild and noisy a customer. 

'' Well, honest man," said Donald, on the entrance of 
his host, " will you pe pringing us two half mutchkins of 
your best whisky. Here's some honest lads I want to treat 
to a tram." 

The landlord, as might be expected, stared at his strange 
guest, in utter unconsciousness of the purport of his demand. 
Recollecting himself, however, after a moment, his profes- 
sional politeness returned, and he began bowing and sim- 
pering his inability to comprehend what had been addressed 
to him. 

" What for you'll boo, boo, and scrape., scrape there, 
you tarn ass !" exclaimed Donald, furiously. " Co and 
pring us the whisky. Two half mutchkins, I say." 

Again the polite landlord of the Golden Eagle, which 
was the name of the inn, bowed his non-comprehension of 
what was said to him. 

" Cot's mercy ! can you'll not spoke English, either ?" 
shouted Donald, despairingly, on this second rebuff, and at 
the same time striking the table impatiently with his 
clenched fist. " Can you'll spoke Gaelic, then ?" he added ; 
and, without waiting for a reply, he repeated his demand in 
that language. The experiment was unsuccessful. Mine 
host of the Golden Eagle understood neither Gaelic nor 
English. Finding this, Donald had once more recourse to 
the dumb show of raising his hand to his mouth, as if in the 
act of drinking ; and once more he found the sign perfectly 
intelligible. On its being made, the landlord instantly 
retired, and in a minute after returned with a couple of 
bottles in his hand, and two very large sized glasses, which 
he placed on the table. Eyeing the bottles contemptuously 
" It's no porter it's whisky I'll order," exclaimed Donald, 
angrily, conceiving that it was the former beverage that 
had been brought him. " Porter's drink for hoes, and not 
for human podies." Finding it wholly impossible, however, 
to make this sentiment understood, Donald was compelled 
to content himself with the liquor which had been brought 
him. Under this conviction, he seized one of the bottles, 
filled up a glass to the brim, muttering the while <f that it 
was tarn white, strange-looking porter," started to his feet, 
and, holding the glass extended in his hand, shouted the 
health of his ragged company, in Gaelic, and bolted the con- 
tents. But the effect of this proceeding was curious The 
moment the liquor, which was some of the common wine of 
Spain, was over Donald's throat, he stared wildly, as if he 
Lad just done some desperate deed swallowed an adder 
by mistake, or committed some such awkward oversight. 



This expression of horror was followed by the most violent 
sputterings and hideous grimaces, accompanied by a pro- 
digious assemblage of curses of all. sorts, in Gaelic and 
English, and sometimes of an equal proportion of both. 

" Oich, oich ! poisoned py Cot ! vinekar, horrit vinekar ! 
Lanlort, I say, what cursed stuff's is this you kive us f" And 
again Donald sputtered with an energy and perseverance 
that nothing but a sense of the utmost disgust and loathing 
could have inspired. Both the landlord and Donald's own 
guests, at once comprehending his feelings regarding the 
wine, hastened, by every act and sign they could think of 
to assure him that he was wrong in entertaining so un- 
favourable an opinion of its character and qualities. Mine 
host, filling up a glass, raised it to his mouth, and, sipping a 
little of the liquor, smacked his lips, in token of high relish 
of its excellences. He then handed the glass round the 
company, all of whom tasted and approved, after the same 
expressive fashion ; and thus, without a word being said, a 
collective opinion, hollow against Donald, was obtained. 

" Well, well, trink the apominations, and be curst to you !" 
said Donald, who perfectly understood that judgment had 
gone against him, "and much goot may't do you! but mysel 
would sooner trink the dirty pog water of Sleevrechkin. 
Oich, oich ! the dirts ! But I say, lanlort, maype you'll have 
got some brandies in the house ? I can make shift wi' that, 
when there's no whisky to be got." 

Fortunately for Donald, mine host of the Golden Eagle 
at once understood the word brandy, and, understanding it, 
lost no time in placing a measure of that liquor before him ; 
and as little time did Donald lose in swallowing an immense 
bumper of the inspiring alcohol. 

" Ay," said Donald, with a look of great satisfaction, on 
performing this feat, "that's something like a human 
Christian's trink. No your tarn vinekar, as would colic 
a horse." Saying this, he filled up and discussed another 
modicum of the brandy ; his followers, in the meantime, 
having done the same duty by the two bottles of wine, 
which were subsequently replaced by other two, by the 
order of their hospitable entertainer. On Donald, however, 
his libations were now beginning to produce, in a very 
marked manner, their usual effects. He was fast getting 
into a state of high excitation ; thumping the table violently 
with his fist, and sputtering out furious discharges of Gaelic 
and English, mingled in one strange and unintelligible mess 
of words, and seemingly oblivious of the fact that not a 
syllable of what he said could be comprehended by his audi- 
tory. This, then, was a circumstance which did not hinder 
him from entertaining his friends with a graphic descrip. 
tion of Eddernahulish, and a very animated account of a 
particular deer-chase in which he had once been engaged. 
In short, in the inspiration of the hour, Donald seemed to 
have entirely forgotten every circumstance connected with 
his present position. He appeared to have forgotten that 
he was in a foreign land ; forgotten the purpose that brought 
him there ; forgotten his brother ; forgotten that those 
associated with him were Spaniards, not Athole-men ; in 
truth, forgotten everything he should have recollected. In 
this happy state of obfuscation, Donald continued to roar, 
to drink, and to talk away precisely as he was wont to do 
in Rory M'Fadyen's " public" at itilnichrocliokan. From 
being oratorical, Donald became musical, and insisted on 
having a song from some of his friends ; but failing to make 
his request intelligible, he volunteered one himself, aim 
immediately struck up, in a strong nasal twang, and with, A 
voic that made the whole house ring 

" Ta Heelan hills are high, high, high, 

An' ta Heelan miles are long ; 

But, then, my freens, rememper you, 

Ta Ileelan whisky's strong, strong, strong I 
Ta Heelan whisky's strong ! 

" And who shall care for ta length o' ta mile, 
Or who shall care for ta hill, 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



If he shall have, 'fore he teukit ta way, 

In lam's cheek one Heelan shill, shilj, slull 

In him's cheek one Heelan shill ? 
" An' maype he'll pe teukit twa ; 
I'll no say is no pc tree ; 
And what although it should pe four? 
Is no pussiness you or me, me, me 

Is no pussiness you or me." 

Suiting the action to, at least, the spirit of the song, 
Donald here tossed off another bumper of the alcohol, which 
nad the rather odd effect of recalling him to some sense of 
his situation, instead of destroying, as might have been ex- 
pected, any little glimmering of light on that subject which 
he might have previously possessed. On discussing the last 
glass of brandy 

" Now, lads," said Donald, " I must pe going. It s gettm 
late, and I must find oot my brocler Tuncan Corm, as decen 
a lad as between this and Eddernahulish." Having said 
this, and paid his reckoning, Donald began shaking hands 
with his friends, one after the other, previous to leaving 
them ; but his friends had no intention whatever of parting 
with him in this way. Donald had incautiously exposed 
his wealth when settling with the landlord ; and of his 
wealth, as well as his wine, they determined on having a 
a share. The ruffians, in short, having communicated with 
each other, by nods and winks, resolved to dog him ; and, 
when fitting place and opportunity should present them- 
selves, to rob and murder him. Fortunately for Donald, 
however, they had not exchanged intelligence so cautiously 
as to escape his notice altogether. He had seen and taken 
note of two or three equivocal acts and motions of his friends ; 
but had had sufficient prudence, not only to avoid all remark 
on them, but to seem as if he had not observed them. Don- 
ald, indeed, could not well conceive what these secret signals 
meant ; but he felt convinced that they meant " no goot ; 
and he therefore determined on keeping a sharp look-out, not 
only while he was in the presence of his boon companions, 
but after he should have left them ; for he had a vague notion 
that they might possibly follow him for some evil purpose. 
Under this latter impression which had occurred to him 
only at the close of their orgie, no suspicion unfavourable 
to the characters of his guests having before struck him 
Donald, on parting from the latter at the door of the inn 
in which thev had been regaling, might have been heard 
muttering to himself, after he had got to some little 
distance 

Tarn rogues, after all, I pelieve. 

Having thus distinctly expressed his sentiments regard- 
ing his late companions, Donald pursued his way, although 
he was very far from knowing what that way should be. 
Street, after street he traversed, making frequent vain 
inquiries for his broder, Tuncan Gorm," until midnight, 
when he suddenly found himself in a large, open space, 
intersected by alleys formed by magnificent trees, and 
adorned by playing fountains of great beauty and elegance. 
Donald had got into the Prado, or public promenade of 
Madrid ; but of the Prado Donald knew nothing ; and 
much, therefore, did he marvel at what sort of a place he 
had got into. The fountains, in particular, perplexed and 
amazed him ; and it was while contemplating one of these, 
with a sort of bewildered curiosity, that he saw a human 
figure glide from one side to the other of the avenue in 
which the object of his contemplation was situated, and at 
the distance of about twenty yards. Donald was startled 
by the apparition ; and, recollecting his former associates, 
clapped his right hand instinctively on the hilt of his broad- 
sword, and his left on the butt of a pistol one of those 
stuck in his belt and in this attitude awaited the re- 
appearance of the skulker ; but he did not make himself 
again visible. Donald, however, felt convinced that there 
was danger at hand, and he determined to keep himself 
prepared to encounter it. 



" Some o' ta vinekar-drinking rascals," muttered Donald. 
" It was no honest man's drink ; nor no goot can come o' a 
country where they swallow such apominable liquors." 

Thus reasoned Donald with himself, as he stood vigilantly 
scanning the localities around him, to prevent a sudden sur- 
prise. While thus engaged, four different persons, all at 
once, and as if they had acted by concert, started each from 
behind a tree, and approached Donald from four different 
points, with the purpose, evidently, of distracting his 
attention. At once perceiving their intention, and not 
doubting that their purposes were hostile, the intrepid Celt, 
to prevent himself being surrounded, hastily retreated to a 
wall which formed part of the structure of the fountain on 
which he had been gazing, and, placing his back against 
it, awaited, with his drawn sword in one hand and a pistol 
in the other, the approach of his enemies, as he had no 
doubt they were. 

" "Well, my friends," said Donald, as they drew near 
him, and discovered to him four tall fellows, swathed up to 
the eyes in their cloaks, and each with a drawn sword in 
his hand, " what you'll want with me ?" No answer having 
been returned to this query, and the fellows continuing to 
press on, although now more cautiously, as they had 
perceived that their intended victim was armed, and stood 
on the defensive" Py Shoseph !" said Donald, you had 
petter keep your distance, lads, or my name's no Tonal 
Gorm if I don't gif some of you a dish of crowdy." 

And, as good as his word, he almost instantly after 
fired at the foremost of his assailants, and brought him 
down. This feat performed, instead of waiting for the 
attack of the other three, he instantlv rushed on them 
sword in hand, and, by the impetuosity of his attack, 
and fury of his blows, rendered all their skill of fence use- 
less. With his huge weapon and powerful arm, both of 
which he plied with a rapidity and force which there was 
no resisting, he broke through their guards as easily as he 
would have beat down so many osier wands, and wounded 
severely at every blow. It was in vain that Donald's 
assailants kept retiring before him, in the hope of getting 
him at a disadvantage of finding an opportunity of having 
a cut or a thrust at him. No time was allowed them for 
any such exploit. Donald kept pressing on, and showering 
his tremendous blows on them so thickly, that not an 
instant was left them for aggression in turn. They were, 
besides, rapidly losing relish for the contest, from the ugly 
blows they were getting, without a possibility of returning 
them. Finding, at length, that the contest was a perfectly 
hopeless one, Donald's assailants fairly took to their heels, 
and ran for it ; but there was one of their number who did 
not run far a few yards, when he fell down and expired. 
His hurts had been mortal. 

Oich, oich, lad !" said Donald, peering into the face of 
the dead man, " you'll no pe shust that very weel, 1 m 
thinkin. The Heelan claymore '11 not acree with your 
Spanish stomach. Put it's goot medicine for rogues, for 
all that." Having thus apostrophized the slain man, 
Donald sheathed his weapon, muttering as he did so 
cowartly togs can fight no more's a turkey hens." 

And, cocking his bonnet proudly, he commenced the 
task of finding his way back to the city a task which 
after a good many unnecessary, but, from his ignorance of 
the localities, unavoidable deviations, he at length accom- 
plished. . , r 
Donald's most anxious desire now was to find a " public 
in which to quarter for the night ; but, the hour being late, 
this was no easy matter. Every door was shut, and the 
streets lonelv and deserted. At length, however, our hero 
stumbled on what appeared to him to be something of tl 
kind he wanted, although he could have wished it to have 
been on a fully smaller and humbler scale. This was a 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



rarge hotel, in which every window was blazing with 
light, and whose rooms were filled with mirthful music. 
Donald's first impression was, that it was a penny- wedding 
upon a great scale. It was, in truth, a masquerade ; and, 
as the brandy which he had drunk in the earlier part of the 
evening was still in his head, he proposed to himself taking 
a very active part in the proceedings. On entering the hotel, 
however, which he did boldly, he was rather surprised at 
the splendours of various kinds which greeted his eyes 
marble stairs, gorgeous lamps, gilt cornices, &c., &c., and 
sundry other indications of grandeur, which he had never 
seen equalled, even in Tain or Dingwall, to say nothing of 
his native parish of Macharuarich ; and he had been, in his 
time, in every public-house of any repute in all of them. 
These circumstances, however, did not disabuse Donald of 
his original idea of its being a penny-wedding. He only 
thought that they conducted these things in greater style 
in Spain than in Scotland ; and with this solution of 
the difficulty suggested by the said splendours, Donald 
mounted the broad marble staircase, and stalked into the 
midst of a large apartment, filled with dancers. The variety 
and elegance of the dresses of these last again staggered 
Donald's belief in the nature of the merry-making, and 
made him doubt whether he had conjectured aright. 
These doubts, however, did not for an instant shake his 
determination to have a share in the fun. It was a joy- 
ous dancing party, and that was quite enough for him. In 
the meantime, however, he contented himself with staring 
at the strange, but splendid figures by whom he was 
surrounded, and who were, in various corners of the apart- 
ment, gliding through the " mazy dance." But, if Donald's 
surprise was great at the costumes which he was now so 
intently marking, those who displayed them were no less 
surprised at that which he exhibited. Donald's strange, 
but striking attire, in truth, had attracted all eyes; and 
much did those who beheld it wonder, in all the earth, to 
what country it belonged. But simple wonder and 
admiration were not the only sensations which Donald's 
garb produced on the masquers. His kilt had other 
effects. It drove half the ladies screaming out of the 
apartment, to its wearer's great surprise and no small dis- 
pleasure. The guise which Donald wore, however, and 
which all believed to have been donned for the occasion, 
was, on the whole, much approved of, and the wearer, in 
more than one instance, complimented for his taste in 
having selected so novel and striking a garb. But even his 
warmest applauders objected to the scantiness of the kilt, 
and hinted that, for decorum's sake, this part of his dress 
should have been carried down to his heels. This improve- 
ment on his kilt was suggested, in the most polite terms, 
to Donald himself, by a Spanish gentleman, who spoke a 
little English, and who had ascertained that our hero was 
a native of Great Britain, and whom he believed to be a 
man of note. To this suggestion Donald made no other 
reply than by a look of the utmost indignation and con- 
tempt. The Spanish gentleman, whose name was Don 
Sebastanio, seeing that his remark had given offence, 
hastened to apologise for the liberty he had taken assuring 
Donald that he meant nothing disrespectful or insulting. 
This apology was just made in time, as the irritable Celt 
had begun to entertain the idea of challenging the Span- 
iard to mortal combat. As it was, however, his good 
nature at once gave way to the pacific overture that was 
made him. Seizing the apologist by the hand, with a gripe 
that produced some dismal contortions of countenance on 
the part of him on whom it was inflicted 

f< Is no harm done at all, my friend. You'll not know 
no petter, having never peen, I dare say, in our country, or 
een a Heelanman pefore." 

The Spaniard declared he never had had either of these 
happinesses, and concluded by inviting Donald to an ad- 



joining apartment, to have some refreshment an invitation 
which Donald at once obeyed. 

' Now, my good sir," said his companion, on their entering 
a sort of refectory where were a variety of tables spread with 
abundance of the good things of this life and of Madrid, 
" what shall you prefer ?" 

" Herself's not fery hungry, but a little thirsty," said 
Donald, flinging himself down on a seat, in a free and 
easy way, with his legs astride, so as to allow free suspen- 
sion to his huge goat skin purse, and doffing his bonnet 
and wiping the perspiration from his forehead" Herself's 
no fery hungry, but a little thirsty ; and she'll teukit, if 
you please, a fery small drop of whisky and water." 

The Spaniard was nonplussed. He had never even heard 
of whisky in his life, and was, therefore, greatly at a loss 
to understand what sort of liquor his friend meant. Donald, 
perceiving his difficulty, and guessing that it was of the 
same nature with the one which he had already experienced, 
hastily transmuted his demand for whisky into one for 
brandy, which was immediately supplied him, when Donald, 
pouring into a rummer a quantity equal to at least six 
glasses, filled up with water, and drank off, to the inexpres- 
sible amazement of his companion, who, however, although 
he looked unutterable things at the enormous draught, was 
much too polite to say anything. 

Thus primed a second time, Donald, seeing his new friend 
engaged with some ladies who had unexpectedly joined him, 
returned alone to the dancing apartment, which he entered 
with a whoop of encouragement to the performers, that 
startled every one present, and for an instant arrested the 
motions of the dancers, who could not comprehend the 
meaning of his uncouth cries. Regardless, however, of this 
effect of his interference in the proceedings of the evening, 
Donald, with a countenance beaming with hilarity, and eyes 
sparkling with wild and reckless glee, took up a conspicuous 
position in the room, and from thence commenced edifying 
the dancers by a series of short, abrupt shouts or yells, 
accompanied by a vigorous clapping of his hands, at once 
to intimate his satisfaction with the performances, and to 
encourage the performers themselves to further exertions. 
Getting gradually, however, too much into the spirit of the 
thing to be content with being merely an onlooker, Donald 
all at once capered into the middle of the floor, snapping 
his fingers and thumbs, and calling out to the musicians to 
strike up " Caber Feigh ;" and, without waiting to hear 
whether his call was obeyed, he commenced a vigorous 
exhibition of the Highland Fling, to the great amazement 
of the bystanders, who, instantly abandoning their own pur- 
suits, crowded around him, to witness this, to them, most 
extraordinary performance. Thus occupied, and thus situ- 
ated the centre of a "glittering ring" Donald continued 
to execute, with unabated energy, the various strongly 
marked movements of his national dance, amidst the loud 
applauses of the surrounding spectators. On concluding 

" Oich, oich !" exclaimed Donald, out of breath with his 
exertion, and looking laughingly round on the circle of 
bystanders. " Did ever I think to dance ta Heelan Fling 
in Madrid ! Och, no, no ! Never, by Shoseph 1 But, I 
dare say, it'll pe the first time that it was ever danced 
here." 

From this moment, Donald became a universal favourite 
in the room, and the established lion of the night. Where- 
ever he went, he was surrounded with an admiring group, 
and was overloaded with civilities of all kinds, including 
frequent offers of refreshment ; so that he speedily found 
himself in most excellent quarters. There was, however, 
one drawback to his happiness. He could get no share in 
the dancing, excepting what he chose to perform solus, as 
there was nothing in that way to be seen in the room in. 
the shape of a reel, nor was there a single tune played of 
which he could either make head or tail nothing but 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



"your foreign trash, with neither spunk nor music in 
them." Determined, however, since his Highland Fling 
liiul been so much approved of, to give a specimen of the 
Highland Heel, if he could possibly make it out, Donald, 
as a first step, looked around him for a partner; and seeing 
a very handsome girl seated in one of the corners of the 
apartment, and apparently disengaged, he made up to her, 
and, making one of his best bows, solicited the honour of 
her joining him in a reel. Without understanding the 
language in which she was addressed, but guessing that 
it conveyed an invitation to the floor, the young lady at 
once arose and curtsied an acquiescence, when Donald, 
taking her gallantly by the hand, led her up to the front 
of the orchestra, in order that he might bespeak the appro- 
priate music for the particular species of dunce he con- 
templated. On approaching sufficiently near to the mu- 
sicians 

" Fittlers," he shouted, at the top of his voice, " I say, 
can you'll kive us ' Rothiemurchus' Rant,' or the ' Trucken 
Wives of Fochabers ?' " 

Then turning to his partner, and flinging his arms about 
her neck in an ecstasy of Highland excitation, capering 
at tlie same time hilarously, in anticipation of the coming 
strain 

" Them's the tunes, my lass, for putting mettle in your 
heels." 

A scream from the lady, however, with whom Donald 
was using these unwarrantable personal liberties, and a 
violent attempt, on her part, to escape from them, suddenly 
arrested Donald's hilarity, and excited his utmost surprise. 
In the next instant, he was surrounded by at least half-a- 
dozen angry cavaliers, amongst whom there was a brandish- 
ing of swords and much violent denunciation, all directed 
against Donald, and excited by his unmannerly rudeness 
to a lady. It was some seconds before Donald could com- 
prehend the meaning of all this wrath, or believe that he 
was at once the cause and the object of it. But, on this 
becoming plain 

" Well, shentlemen," he said, " I did not mean anything 
wrong. No offence at all to the girl. It was just the 
fashion of nly country, and I'm sorry for it." 

To this apology of Donald's, of which, of course, not a 
word was understood, the only reply was a more fierce 
flourishing of brands, and a greater volubility and vehe- 
mence of abuse ; the effect of which was at once to arouse 
Donald's choler, and to urge him headlong on extremities. 

"Well, well," he said, "if you'll not have satisfaction 
any other way than py the sword, py the sword you shall 
Imve it." 

And instantly drawing, he stood ready to encounter at 
once the whole host of his enemies. What might have 
been the result of so unequal a contest, had i* taken place, 
we cannot telland this, simply, because no encounter did 
take place. At the moment that Donald was awaiting 
the onset of the foe a proceeding, by the way, which they 
were now marvellously slow in adopting, notwithstanding 
the fury with which they had opened the assault a party 
of the King's guard, with fixed bayonets, rushed into the 
apartment, and bore Donald forcibly out into the street, 
where they left him, with angry signs that, if he attempted 
to return, he would meet with still worse treatment. 
Donald had prudence enough to perceive that any attempt 
to resent the insult that had been offered him seeing 
that it was perpetrated by a dozen men armed with musket 
and bayonet would be madness ; and, therefore, contented 
himself with muttering in Gaelic some expressions of high 
indignation and contempt. Having delivered himself to 
this effect, he proudly adjusted his plaid, and stalked 
majestically away. 

It was now so far advanced in the morning, that Donald 
abandoned all idea of seeking for a bed, and resolved on 



prosecuting an assiduous search for his brother. This he 
accordingly commenced, and numerous were the calls at 
shops, and frequent the inquiries he made for Tuncan 
Gorm ; but unavailing were they all. No one understood 
a word of what he addressed to them ; and thus, of course, 
no one could give him the information he desired. It was 
in vain, too, that Donald carefully scanned every sign that 
he passed, to see that it did not bear the anxiously looked 
for name. On none of them did it appear. They were 
all, as Donald himself said, Fouros, and Beuros, and 
Lebranos, and Dranos, and other outlandish and unchris- 
tian-like names. Not a Heeland or Lowland shopkeeper 
amongst them. No such a decent an' civilized name 
to be met with as Gorm, or Brolachan, or JM'Fadyen, or 
Macharuarich, or M'Cuallisky. 

Tired and disappointed, Donald, after wandering up and 
down the street for several hours, bethought him of ad- 
journing to a tavern, to have something to eat, and probably 
something to drink also. Seeing such a house as he 
wanted, he entered, and desired the landlord to furnish 
him with some dinner. In a few seconds two dishes were 
placed before him ; but what these dishes were, Donald 
could not at all make out. They resembled nothing in 
the edible way he had ever seen before, and the flavour 
was most alarming. Nevertheless, being pretty sharp- 
set, he resolved to try them ; and for this purpose drew 
one of the dishes towards him, when, having peered as 
curiously and cautiously into it for a few seconds as if he 
feared it would leap up in his face and bite him, and 
curling his nose the while into strong disapprobation of 
its odour, he lifted several spoonfuls of the black, greasy 
mess on his plate. At this point Donald found his courage 
failing him ; but, as his host stood behind his chair, and 
was witness to all his proceedings, he did not like either 
to express the excessive disgust he was beginning to feel, 
nor to refuse tasting of what was set before him. Muster- 
ing all his remaining courage, therefore, he plunged his 
spoon with desperate violence into the nauseous mess, 
which seemed to Donald to be some villanous compound 
of garlic, rancid oil, and dough ; and, raising it to his lips, 
shut his eyes, and boldly thrust it into his mouth. Donald's 
resolution, however, could carry him no farther. To swal- 
IOAV it he found utterly impossible, now that the horrors of 
both taste and smell were full upon him. In this predica- 
ment, Donald had no other way for it but to give back 
what he had taken ; and this course he instantly followed, 
adding a large interest, and exclaiming 

" My Cot ! what sort of a country is this ? Your drinks 
is poison, and your meats is poison, and everything is 
apominations apout you. Oich, oich ! I wish to Cot I was 
back to Eddernahulish again ; for I'll pe either poisoned 
or murdered amongst you if I remain much longer here. 
That's peyond all doubt." 

And having thus expressed himself, Donald started to 
his feet, and was about to leave the house without any 
farther ceremony, when the landlord adroitly planted him- 
self between him and the door, and demanded the reckon- 
ing. Donald did not know precisely what was asked of 
him ; but he guessed that it was a demand for payment, 
and this demand he was determined to resist, on the 
ground that what he could not eat he ought not to be 
called on to pay for. Full of this resolution, and having 
no doubt that he was right in his conjecture as to the 
landlord's purpose in preventing his exit 

" Pay for ta apominations !" said Donald, wrathfully. 
" Pay for ta poison ! It's myself will see you at Jericho 
first. Not a farthing, not one tarn farthing, will I pay you 
for ta trash. So stand out of the way, my friend, pefore 
worse comes of it." 

Saying this, Donald advanced to the door, and, seizing 
its guardian by the breast, laid him gently on his back on 



TALKS OF THE BORDERS. 



the floor,, and, stopping' over his prostrate body, walked 
deliberately out of the House, without further interruption ; 
mine host not thinking it advisable to excite further the 
choler of so dangerous a customer, and one who had just 
given him so satisfactory a specimen of his personal prowess. 
Another day had now nearly passed away, and Donald was 
still as far, to all appearance, from finding the object of his 
search as ever he had been. He was, moreover, now both 
hungry and thirsty ; but these were evils which he soon 
after succeeded in obviating for the time, by a more suc- 
cessful foray than the last. Going into another house of 
entertainment, he contrived to make a demand for bread 
and cheese intelligible articles which he had specially 
condescended on, that there might be " no mistake ;" and 
with these and a pretty capacious measure of brandy, he 
managed to effect a very tolerable passover. Before leav- 
ing this house, Donald made once more the already oft 
but vainly-repeated inquiry, whether he knew (he was 
addressing his landlord) where one Tuncan Gorm stopped. 
It did not now surprise Donald to find that his inquiry 
was not understood ; but it did both surprise and delight 
him when his host, who had abruptly left the room for an 
instant, returned with a person who spoke very tolerable 
English. This man was a muleteer, and had resided for 
some years in London in the service of the Spanish am- 
bassador. His name a most convenient one for Donald 
to pronounce was Mendoza Ambrosius. On being intro- 
duced to this personage, Donald expressed the utmost de- 
light at finding in him one who spoke a Christian language, 
as he called it ; and, in the joy of his heart with his good 
fortune, ordered in a jorum of brandy for the entertain- 
ment of himself and Mr Ambrosius. The liquor being 
brought, and several horns of it discussed, Donald and his 
new friend got as thick as " ben' leather." And on this happy 
understanding being established, the former began to detail, 
at all the length it would admit of, the purpose of his visit 
to Madrid, and the occurrences that had befallen him since 
his arrival ; prefacing these particulars with a sketch of 
his history, and some account of the place of his nativity; 
and concluding the whole, by asking his companion if he 
could in any way assist him to find his brother, Duncan 
Gorm. 

The muleteer replied, in the best English he could com- 
mand, that he did not know the particular person inquired 
after, but that he knew the residences of two or three 
natives of Britain, some of whom, he thought it probable, 
might be acquainted with his brother ; and that he would 
have much pleasure in conducting him to these persons, for 
the purpose of ascertaining this. Donald thanked his 
friend for his civility ; and, in a short time thereafter, the 
brandy having been finished in the interim, the two set out 
together, on their expedition of inquiry. It was a clear, 
moonlight night ; but, although it was so, and the hour 
what would be considered in this country early, the streets 
were nearly deserted, and as lonely and quiet as if Madrid 
were a city of the dead. This stillness had the effect of 
making the smallest sound audible even at a great distance, 
and to this stillness it was owing that Donald and his 
friend suddenly heard, soon after they had set out, the 
clashing of swords, intermingled with occasional shouts, at 
a remote part of the street they were traversing. 

"What's tat?" exclaimed Donald, stopping abruptly, 
and cocking his ears at the well-known sound of clashing 
steel. His companion, accustomed to such occurrences, 
replied, with an air of indifference, that it was merely some 
street brawl. 

" It'll pe these tarn vinekar drinkers again," said Donald, 
with a lively recollection of the assault that had been made 
upon himself; "maype some poor shentleman's in distress. 
Let us go and see, my tear sir." To this proposal, the 
muleteer, with a proper sense of the folly of throwing him- 



self in the way of mischief unnecessarily, would at first by 
no means accede ; but, on being urged by Donald, agreed to 
move on a little with him, towards the scene of conflict. This 
proceeding soon brought them near enough to the combatants, 
to perceive that Donald's random conjecture had not been 
far wrong, by discovering to them one person, who, with his 
back to the wall, was bravely defending himself against no 
fewer than four assailants, all being armed with swords. 

" Did not I tell you so !" exclaimed Donald, in great ex- 
citation, on seeing how matters stood. "Noo, Maister 
Tozy Brozey, shoulder to shoulder, my tear, and we'll as- 
sist this poor shentleman." Saying this, Donald drew his 
claymore, and rushed headlong on to the rescue, calling 
on Tozy Brozey to follow him ; but Tozy Brozey's feelings 
and impulses carried him in a totally different direction. 
Fearing that his friend's interference in the squabble might 
have the effect of directing some of the blows his way, ho 
fairly took to his heels, leaving Donald to do by himself 
what to himself seemed needful in the case. In the mean- 
time, too much engrossed by the duty before him to mind 
much whether his friend followed him or not, Donald 
sir tick boldly in, in aid of the " shentleman in distress," 
exclaiming, as he did so 

"Fair play, my tears ! Fair play's a shewel everywhere, and 
I suppose here too." And, saying this, with one thundering 
blow that fairly split the skull of the unfortunate wight on 
whom it fell, in twain, Donald lessened the number of the 
combatants by one. The person to whose aid he had thus 
so unexpectedly and opportunely come, seeing what an 
effectual ally he had got, gave a shout of triumphant joy ; 
and, although much exhausted by the violence and length 
of his exertions in defending himself, instantly became the 
assailant in his turn. Inspired with new life and vigour, 
he pressed on his enemies with a fury that compelled them, 
to give way ; and, being splendidly seconded by Donald, 
whose tremendous blows were falling with powerful effect 
on those against whom they were directed, the result was, 
in a few seconds, the flight of the enemy ; who, in rapid 
succession, one after the other, took to their heels, although 
not without carrying along with them several authentic 
certificates of the efficiency of Donald's claymore. 

On the retreat of the bravoes for such they were the 
person whom Donald had so efficiently served in his hour 
of need, flew towards him, and, taking him in his arms, 
poured out a torrent of thanks for the prompt and gallant 
aid he had afforded him. But, as these thanks were ex- 
pressed in Spanish, they were lost on him to whom they 
were addressed. Not so, however, the indications of grati- 
tude, evinced in the acts by which they were accompanied. 
These, Donald perfectly understood, and replied to them 
as if their sense had been conveyed to him in a language 
which he comprehended. 

" No thanks at all, my tear sir. A Heelantman will 
always assist a freend, where a few plows will do him goot. 
You would shust do the same to me, I'm sure. But," added 
Donald, as he sheathed his most serviceable weapon, " this 
is the tarn place for fechtin I have ever seen. I thocht 
oor own Heelants pad enough, but this is ten times worse, 
py Shoseph ! I have no peen more than four-and-twenty 
hours in Ma-a-treed, an' I'll have peen in treefecht already." 

More of this speech was understood, by the person to 
whom it was addressed, than might have been expected 
under all the circumstances. This person was a Spanish 
gentleman of rank and great wealth, of the name of Don 
Antonio Nunnez, whose acquirements included a very com- 
petent knoAvledge of the English language, which, although 
he spoke it but indifferently, he understood very ^well. 
Yet it certainly did require all his knowledge of it, to 
recognise it in the shape in which Donald presented it to 
him. This, however, to a certain extent, he did, and, in 
English, now repeated his sense of the important obligation 



TALES OF THE BORDERS, 



Donald had conferred on him. But it was not to words alone 
that the grateful and generous Spaniard meant to confine 
his acknowledgments of the service that had been rendered 
him. Having ascertained that Donald was a perfect 
stranger in the city, he insisted on his going home with 
him, and remaining with him during his stay in Madrid, 
and further requesting that he would seek at his hands, 
and no other's, any service or obligation, of whatever nature 
it might be, of which he should stand in need during his stay. 
To these generous proffers, Donald replied, that the 
greatest service that could be done him, was to inform 
him where he could find his brother, Duncan Gorm. Don 
Antonio first expressed surprise to learn that Donald had 
a brother in Madrid, and then his sorrow that he did not 
know, nor had ever heard of such a person. 
" He'll keep a public," said Donald. 
" What is that, my friend ?" inquired Don Antonio. 
" Sell a shill, to be sure I'll thocht everypody know 
that," said Donald, a good deal surprised at the other's 
ignorance. 

" Shill ? shill ?" repeated the Spaniard " and pray, my 
friend, what is a shill ?" 

" Cot pless me ! don't you'll know what a shill is ?" re- 
joined Donald, with increased amazement. " If you'll 
come with me to Eddernahulish, I'll shew you what a shill 
is, and help you to drink it, too." 

" Well, well, my friend," said Don Antonio, f< I'll get 
an explanation of what a ' shill' is, from you afterwards ; 
but, in the meantime, you'll come with me, if you please, as 
I am anxious to introduce you to some friends at home !" 

Saying this, he took Donald's arm, in order to act as 
his conductor, and, after leading him through two or three 
streets, brought him to the door of a very large and hand- 
some house. Don Antonio having knocked at this door, 
it was immediately opened by a servant in splendid livery, 
who, on recognising his master for such was Donald's 
friend instantly stepped aside, and respectfully admitted 
the pair. In the vestibule, or passage, which was exceed- 
ingly magnificent, were a number of other serving men, in 
rich liveries, who drew themselves up on either side, in order 
to allow their master and his friend to pass ; and much did 
theymarvel at thestrange garb in which that friend appeared. 
Don Antonio now conducted Donald up the broad marble 
staircase, splendidly illuminated with a variety of elegant 
lamps, in which the vestibule terminated ; and, on reachin- 
the top of the first flight, ushered him into a large an 
gorgeously-furnished apartment, in which were two ladies 
dressed in deep mourning. To these ladies, one of whom 
was the mother, the other the sister of Don Antonio, ^t 
latter introduced his amazed and aAve-stricken companion, 
as a person to whom he was indebted for his life. He 
then explained to his relations what had occurred, and did 
not fail to give Donald's promptitude and courage, a due 
share of his laudations. With a gratitude not less earnest 
than his own had been, the mother and sister of Don 
Antonio took Donald by the hand ; the one taking the 
right, and the other the left, and, looking in his face, with 
an expression of the utmost kindness, thanked him for the 
great obligation he had conferred on them. These ^ thanks 
were expressed in Spanish ; but, on Don Antonio's men- 
tioning that Donald was a native of Britain, and that ^he 
did not, as he rather thought, understand the Spanish 
language, his sister, a beautiful girl of one or two-and_ 
twenty, repeated them, in somewhat minced, but perfectly 
intelligible English. Great as Donald's perturbation was 
at finding himself so suddenly and unexpectedly placed in 
a situation so much at variance with anything he had been 
accustomed to, it did not prevent him marking, in a very 
special manner, the dark sparkling eyes and rich sable 
tresses of Donna Nunnez, the name of Don Antonio's sister 
Nor, we must add, did the former look with utter indiffer- 



nce on the manly form, so advantageously set off as it 

vas by his native dress, of Donald Gorm. But of this 

anon. In a short time after, a supper, corresponding in 

elegance and splendour to all the other elegances and 

splendours of this lordly mansion, was served up ; and, on 

ts conclusion, Donald was conducted, by Don Antonio 

limself, to a sleeping apartment, furnished with the same 

magnificence that prevailed throughout the whole house. 

Having ushered him into this apartment, Donald's host 

jade him a kind good-night, and left him to his repose. 

What Donald's feelings were, on finding himself thus so 
superbly quartered, now that he had time to think on the 
subject, and could do so unrestrained by the presence of 
any one, we do not precisely know ; but, if one might have 
judged by the under-breath exclamations in which he in- 
dulged, and by the looks of amazement and inquiry which 
he cast around him, from time to time, on the splendour* 
by which he was surrounded, especially on the gorgeous 
bed, with its gilt canopy and curtains of crimson silk, 
which was destined for his night's restingplace, these 
feelings would appear to have been, after all, fully more 
perplexing than pleasing. It was, in truth, just too much 
of a good thing ; and Donald felt it to be so. But still the 
whole had a smack of good fortune about it, that was very 
far from being disagreeable, and that certainly had the effect 
of reconciling Donald to the little discordance between 
former habits and present circumstances, which his position 
for the time excited. 

While at breakfast on the following morning, with Don 
Antonio and his mother and sister, the first asked Donald 
if he had any particular ties in his own country that would 
imperatively demand his return home ; and on Donald's re- 
plying that there were none, Don Antonio immediately 
inquired whether he would accept a commission in the 
King of Spain's body-guards : " Because," said he, " if 
you will, I have, I believe, influence enough to procure it 
for you." 

Donald said he had no objection in the world to try 
it for a year or two, at any rate only he would like to 
consult his " broder Tuncan" first. 

" True, true," said Don Antonio ; " I promised to assist 
you in finding out your relative and I shall do so." 

As good as his word in this particular, and a great deal 
better in many others in which Donald was interested, 
Don Antonio instantly set an inquiry on foot, which, in 
less than two hours, brought the brothers together. The 
sequel of our story, although containing the very essence 
of Donald's good fortune, is soon told. His brother 
highly approving of his accepting the commission offered 
him, Don Antonio lost no time in procuring him that 
appointment ; and in less than three weeks from his arrival 
in Madrid, Donald Gorm figured as a Captain in the King 
of Spain's body-guards, in which service he ultimately 
attained the rank of Colonel, together with a title of honour, 
which enabled him to ask, without fear of giving offence, 
and to obtain, the hand of Donna Nunnez, with a dowry 
second to that of no fair damsel in Spain. Donald never 
again returned to Eddernahulish, but continued in the 
country of his adoption till his death ; and in that country 
some of his descendants to this hour bear amongst the 
proudest names of which it can boast. 




WILSON'S 

fott, arratrt'tuwarg, antr Emas 

TALES OF THE BORDERS, 



AND OF SCOTLAND. 




GLEANINGS OF THE COVENANT. 

No. I, THE GRANDMOTHER'S NARRATIVE. 

NOTWITHSTANDING the researches of Woodrow, and the 
more recent enlargement and excellent annotations of Dr 
Burns, we are quite conscious that a volume somewhat 
interesting might still be collected, of additional and tra- 
ditional atrocities, of which no written record remains, 
nor other save the recollections of recollections in other 
words, the remembrance which we and a few others pos- 
sess of the narratives of our grandmothers whilst we were yet 
children. Our own maternal grandmother died at ninety- 
six we ourselves are now in our sixtieth year ; so that, 
deducting eight or nine years for our age previous to our 
taking an interest in such concerns, we have our grand- 
mother existing before (say) 1695, which, deducting eight 
years of infancy, brings us to 1703, which is only twenty-five 
years posterior to the conclusion, and fifty-three to the 
commencement of the atrocious twenty-eight years' perse- 
cution. It is then manifest, from this arithmetical com- 
putation, that our own grandmother, on whose truthful 
intentions we can rely with confidence, came into contact 
and conversation with those who were contemporaneous 
with the events and persons she referred to. This surely 
is no very violent or unsafe stretch of tradition ; but, even 
though it were much more so, we would be disposed to yield 
to it somewhat more consideration than is generally done. 
Nowadays, the pen and the press are almost the only 
recorders of passing and past events and circumstances; 
but, in the age to which we refer, this was not the case. 
The children of Israel were bound by a holy and inviolate 
law to record verbally to their children, and those again 
to theirs, what the Lord had done for their forefathers. 
And on the same principle, and under the same compara- 
tive absence of written records, did our grandmothers re- 
ceive from their immediate predecessors the revolting 
disclosures which they have handed down to us. There 
are here but two links in the chain those, namely, which 
connect our grandmothers with their parents, and with us ; 
but, had there been twenty nay, fifty or a hundred links 
we should not, on account of the high antiquity of such a 
tradition, have been disposed to dismiss it as altogether 
groundless, and not implying even the slightest authority. 
In illustration of this, we may adduce the facts sufficiently 
well known and authenticated, which were disclosed about 
thirty years ago at Burgh-head, the ultimate extent of 
Roman conquest in Scotland. In that promontory, now 
inhabited by a scattered population, there remained, from 
age to age, a tradition that a Roman well had existed on 
the particular spot. There being a lack of water in the 
place, the inhabitants combined to have the locality opened, 
with the view of disclosing so useful and essential an 
element. They dug twenty, and even thirty feet down- 
wards, but made no disclosures ; and were on the point of 
giving up the search, when the father of the late Duke of 
Gordon happening to pass, and to ascertain their object and 
their want of success, very generously supplied them with 
the means of making a further excavation. At last, to 
their no small surprise and delight, they came to a nicely 
161. Vox,. IV. 



built and rounded well-mouth, with a stair downwards to 
the bottom, and the bronze statues of Mercury and other 
heathen gods stuck into niches! This well remains to 
this hour, and may be visited by the traveller along the 
Moray Frith, as an indisputable and indelible evidence of 
the value of traditions, in ages when almost no other 
means of record existed. True, such traditions are deeply 
coloured and tinged by the prejudices of the age in which 
they originated allowance as to exaggeration must be 
made for excited feelings and outraged opinions ; but 
still the ground-work may in general be depended on. The 
old and perhaps vulgar proverb " There is aye SOME water 
where the stirkie drowns !" applies in this case with a 
conclusive force ; and we may rely upon it, even from the 
collateral and written evidence of parties and partisans on 
all sides, that nothing which mere tradition has hinted at 
can exceed, in characters of genuine cruelty and down- 
right bloodshed and murder, those historical statements 
which have reached us. 

True, a writer lately deceased whose memoryis immortal 
and whose writings will survive whilst national feelings 
and the vitality of high talent remain has given us a 
somewhat chivalrous and attractive character of the most 
distinguished actor in the atrocities of the fearful time ; 
and it is to be more than lamented to be deplored that 
an early, and habitual, and ultimately constitutional, 
leaning to aristocratic and chivalrous views, should have 
induced such a writer as Sir Walter Scott to draw such an 
interesting picture of the really infamous " Clavers" of him 
who, for a piece of morning pastime, could, with his own 
pistol, blow out a husband's brains without law or trial 
and that in the presence of his wife and infant family ! 
But the great body of historians are on the side of truth 
and tradition ; and the recently published, and still pub- 
lishing life by Lockhart has unfolded and will yet unfold 
those leanings of the great novelist which have occasioned 
so lamentable a deviation from real history. 

Under the shelter, then, of these preliminary observations, 
we proceed with such notices and statements as we have 
heard repeated, or seen in mamiscripts which have (as we 
believe) never been printed. And we shall give these 
notices and statements as they were given to us sur. 
rounded by a halo of superstition, and involving much 
belief which is now, happily, or unhappily we do not say 
which completely exploded. 

" O my bairn ! these were fearful times" (Grandmother 
loquitur) " ay, and atweel war they. My own mother has 
again and again made my hair stand on end, and my heart- 
blood run cold at her relations. 

" Ye ken Auchincairn, my bairn, and maybe, whan ye 
were seeking for hawks' nests, ye hae searched the White - 
stane Cleughs. Aweel, ye maybe hae seen, or maybe no 
for young hearts and een like yours (0 sirs ! mine are 
now dim and sair !) tak little tent o' sic like things ; but 
my bonny bairn, though tent it ye didna, true it is and 
of verity, that, at the very bottom o' that steep and fearfu 
linn, there is a rock, a stane like a blue whinstane ; and 
owre that stane the water has run for years and years / 
and the winds and the rains of heaven have dashed and 
plashed against it ; but still that stane remains (dear me, 



58 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



I'm amaist greeting !) it remains stained and spotted tvi' 
bluid. And that bluid, my dear bairn, is o' the bluid that 
rins in yerain veins it is the bluid of William Harkness, 
my own faither's brother. Weel, and ye shall hear for 
my mother used to tell me the lang-syne stories sae aft 
that I can just repeat them in her ain words -"VVeel, it was 
the month of October, and the nights were beginning to 
lengthen, and the puir persecuted saints that had taen to 
the outside a' simmer, and were seldom, if ever, to be seen in 
the inside, were beginning to pop in again nows an' thans, 
when they thought Dalyel, and Johnston, and Clavers, 
and Douglas, and the rest o' the murdering gang, Avar else- 
where. Aweel, as I am telling ye, yer granduncle cam 
hame to his ain brother's house it might be about the dawn 
o' the morning, whan a' the house, except his brother, were 
sleeping, and he had got a cog o' crap whey on his knee. 
wi' a barley scone for glad, glad Avas he to get it ; and he 
had just finished saying the grace, and Avas conversing 
quietly like, and in \vhisper, wi' his ain brother, when Avhat 
should he hear, but a rap at the kitchen door, and a voice 
pouring in through the keyhole 

" ' Willie Harkness, Willie Harkness ! the Philistines are 
upon ye ! they are just now crossing the Pothouseburn.' 

" I trow Avhen he heard that, he wasna lang in clearing 
the closs, and takin doun the shank, streight for the foot 
of the Whiteside Linn, where the cave was, in Avhich he 
had for Aveeks and months been concealed. It Avas noAv, 
ye see, the grey o' the morning, and things could be seen 
moving at some distance. Just as my uncle Avas about to 
enter the bramble -bushes at the foot o' the linn, he Avas 
met by a trooper on horseback. 

" < Stand !' said a voice, in accents of Satan ' Stand, this 
moment, and surrender ; or your life is not Avorth three 
snuffs of a Covenanter's mull 1' 

" My uncle kent weel the consequences of standing, and 
of being taken captive ; and ye see, my bairn, life is SAveet 
to us a' sae he e'en dashed into the thicket, and in an in- 
stant o' time, and ere the dragoon could shoulder his mus- 
ket, he was tumbling head-foremost (but holding by the 
branches) toAvarcls the bottom of Whiteside Linn. There 
lay my Avorthy uncle, breathless, and motionless, and silent, 
expecting every moment that the dragoon would dismount 
and secure him. However, the man o' sin contented him- 
sel AA-i' firing several times (at random) into the linn. 
The last shot Avhich was fired, took effect on my uncle's 
knee the blood sprung from it, and my uncle fainted. 
As God would have it, at this time no further pursuit was 
attempted, and my uncle Avas lame for life. The blood 
still remains on the stane, as witness against the unholy 
hand that shed it ! But, alas ! we are a' erring creatures, 
and Avho knoAA r s but even a dragoon may get repentance 
and find mercy ? God forbid, my Avee man, that Ave should 
condemn ony ane, even a persecutor, to eternal damnation ! 
It's awf u it's fearf u ! But that's no a' ye shall hear. When 
the trooper came up to the house, and joined his party, 
he repeated what had passed, and a search Avas set about 
in the linn for my uncle ; but William had by this time 
crippen into his cauld, dripping cave, over Avhich the water 
spouted in a cascade, and thus concealed him from their 
search ; sae, after marking the blood, and almost raving 
like blood-hounds, with disappointment, they tied up a ser- 
vant girl whom they had first abused in the most un- 
seemly and beastly manner to a tree, and there they left 
her, incapable, though she had been able, of freeing herself. 
She Avas relieved in an hour ; but never recovered either the 
shame or the cruelty : she died, and her grave is in the east 
corner, near the large bushy tree in Closeburn churchyard. 
' Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord ; for they rest 
from their labours, and their Avorks do folloAV them.' 

" Muckle better, my dear, was her fate, though Beemingiy 
a hard one, than that o' the ungodly curate o' Closeburn 



o' him wha was informer against the puir persecuted 
remnant, and wha, through the instrumentality o' his spies 
an' informers, had occasioned a' this murder an* or;i >lty. 
Ye shall hear. He I mean, my bairn, the curate had 
been hurlin the folk, whether they Avould or no, to the 
kirk, for weeks, in carts and hurdles for, oh., they liked 
his cauld, moral harangues ill, and his conduct far Avaur. 
He had even got the laird to refuse burial in the kirkyard 
to ony Avho refused to hear his fushionless preachings. 
Puir Nanny Walker's funeral ( she Avho had been sae 
horribly murdered) Avas to tak place on sic a day. The 
curate had heard o' this, an' he was resolved to oppose the 
interment. But God's \vays, my Avean, are not as our ways, 
nor his thoughts as ours ; in his hands are the issues of life 
and of death ; he killeth and he maketh alive blessed be 
be his name, for ever, amen ! Weel, as I Avas telling ye, 
out cam the curate, raging, running, and stamping like a 
madman ; coming down his ain entry like a roaring lion, 
an' sAvearing, for he stuck at naething, that Nanny Walker's 
vile, Covenanting heart should never rot in Closeburn 
kirkyard. Aweel, Avhen he had just reached the kirk- 
stile, an' Avas in the act o' lifting up his hand against them 
Avho Avere bearing the coffin into the kirkyard, Avhat think 
ye, my bairn, happened ? The ungodly man, Avith his mouth 
open in cursing, an' his hand uplifted to strike, instantly 
fell down on the flagstanes, uttered but one groan, an' 
expired ! Ye see, my bairn, Avhat a fearfu thing it is to 
persecute, an' then to fall into the hands o' an angry an' 
avenging God. Oh, may never descendant o' mine deserve 
or meet AVI' sic a fate ! But there is mair to tell ye still. 
Just at the time when this fearfu visitation o' Providence 
took place, the family o' Auchincairn war a' engaged AVI' the 
buik, Avhan in should rush wha but daft Gibbie Galloway, 
wha had never spoken a sensible Avord in his life for he 
was a born innocent, he an' his mither afore him ? Weel, 
an' to be sure, just about this time, for they compared it 
afterwards, in Gibbie stammered into the kitchen, Avhar 
they Avar a' convened, an' interrupted the guidman's prayer, 
wha happened at the time to be prayin to the Lord for 
vengeance against the ungodly curate : 

" ' Ilaud at him,' said Gibby ' baud at him ! he's just at 
the pit-brow !' 

" Av, fearfu, sirs thae Avar awfu times !" 



No. II. THE COVENANTERS' MARWI. 

THE narratives of the Rev. Mr Frazer of Alness, as Avell 
as those of Quentin Dick, William M'Millan, and Mr 
Robert M'Lellan, laird of Balmagechan all sufferers by, 
and M.S. historians of the same events we have carefully 
perused ; and it is from a collection of these hitherto un- 
published M.SS. that the folloAving paper is composed. 

Mr Frazer had gone to London about the end of the 
year 1676, and had continued there till 1685, Avhen he 
was seized, along with the laird of Balmagechan in Gallo- 
Avay, Avhilst they were listening to the instructions of the 
Rev. Mr Alexander Shields, the celebrated author of the 
" Hynd let loose," and forwarded by sea, under fetter and 
hatchAvay, to Leith. After a variety of tossing and council- 
questioning, as was the order of the day at this time, they 
AA'ere marched from the Canongate Tolbooth, along Avith 
upAvards of 200 prisoners, to Dunottar Castle in Kincardine- 
shire. 

Of the sudden and unexpected summoning which they 
experienced, the reverend autobiographer speaks in these 
terms : 

" We Avero engaged, as was usual Avith us in our Babel 
captivity, in singing a psalm. It Avas our evening sacrifice, 
and whilst the sun Avas sinking ayont the Pentlands. 
The voice of a godly and much-tried woman, Euphar 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



Thriepland, ascended clear and full of heavenly melody 
above the rest. The prison door was suddenly thrown 
open, and we at first imagined alas ! that our captivity 
had ended; hut it was not so. The Lord saw meet to put 
us to still severer trials. We were marched, under the com- 
mand of Colonel Douglas, to Leith. This poor woman, who 
was labouring under great bodily weakness, pled hard and 
strove sair for leave to stay behind. But she was mounted 
behind a corporal, and, amidst many an obscene jest, and 
much blasphemous language, conveyed to the pier at Leith." 

Next morning, we find the whole prisoners put up in the 
most indecent and uncomfortable manner in two rooms of 
the Tolbooth at Burntisland, and undergoing an examina- 
tion before the laird of Gosford, as to their opinions of 
allegiance and absolute supremacy. Forty acknowledged 
King James as head of our Presbyterian Church, and 
superior lord over all law and authority in the kingdom ; 
and the forty-first was standing in the presence of the oath- 
administrator, with his hand uplifted, and in the very act 
of following the example of his brethren, when his aunt, 
Euphan Thriepland, alias M'Birme, (for her husband's 
name was such,) advancing with difficulty towards the 
table, thus proceeded, with violent gesticulation, and in a 
firm tone of voice, to address her nephew. Here we use the 
words of the laird of Balmagechan, who has given the 
whole scene with singular force and fidelity : 

" Jamie M'Birnie, what's that ye're about ? Down wi' 
yer hand, man ! down wi' yer hand, this moment ! or ye 
may wcel expect it to rot off by the shackle-bane, man ! 
Ye're but a young man, Jamie, and meikle atvveel ye seem to 
require counsel. Had Peter M'Birnie, yer worthy faither 
now with his Maker stood where I now (though with tot- 
tering joints and a feeble voice) stand, he would neither 
have held his peace nor withheld his admonition. He would 
rather hae seen that hand now stretched oot to abjure 
Christ and his Covenanted Kirk burning and frying in 
the hettest flame, than hae witnessed the waefu sicht I 
now see. It's weel wi' him ! oh, it's weel wi' him, that 
his-eyes are shut on earth, and that, in heaven, there is nae 
annoyance ; otherwise, sair, sair wad his heart hae been to 
see my sister's wean devoting himsel wi' his ain uplifted 
Land to Satan. Jamie, what says the Bible ? It says 
awfu things to you, Jamie it says, ' If thine eye offend 
thee, pluck it out, for it is better to go into Heaven with 
one eye than that the whole body' Jamie, mark that ! the 
whole body 'should be cast into hell fire.' And is not 
an eye dearer than a hand, and must not the dearest 
member be sacrificed, if it stand in the way of the soul's 
salvation ? Ye may own King James, and muckle 
thanks ye'll get for't ; and ye may abjure and renounce 
Christ, and ye'll sune see wha will gain or lose by that. 
An' ye may adhere to the King's curates, or to the bishops' 
curates, and starve at the breast o' a yeld, a milkless mither ; 
but tak tent that ye dinna feed and nourish in your bosom 
a fearful norm, that \vinna die nor lie still, but will gnaw 
and gnaw as long as the fire burns and isna quenched." 

Jamie M' Birnie's hand continued to fall gradually during 
this address, and, when his aunt had concluded, his arm 
hung pendulous and seemingly powerless by his side. At 
this instant, a young woman of uncommon personal attrac- 
tions was seen hurrying from a boat which had just landed. 
She had scarcely set foot on shore when a commotion was 
observed in the court, and a face full of anguish and 
despair was presented to the party assembled in the Tol- 
booth. The laird of Gosford, after cursing the aunt for 
an old Covenanting hag, had just put the question of 
abjuration to Jamie, for the last time. Jamie now remained 
inflexible, and was immediately ordered to be handcuffed, 
and marched with the rest to Dunottar Castle Hereupon, 
as the laircl of Balmagechan expresses it " The maiden, 
>vho was fair to look upon, pushed herself suddenly for- 



ward, and rushed into the arms of her lover for such he 
behoved, from her words and her conduct, to be. 

v ' Jamie, Jamie, tak the oath tak the oath tak 
ony oath tak onything ; do a' that they bid you do ; say 
a' that they bid ye say rather than leave yer ain Jeanie 
Wilson to break her heart wi' downright greeting. O 
Jamie, we were to be married, ye ken, at Martinmas ; and I 
have a'thing ready, and the bit house is taen, and ye can 
work outby, an' I can spin within, an' an' but, Jamie, 
speak man, just speak, and say ye'll take the oath. Haud up 
yer hand !' Hereupon she lifted his seemingly powerless right 
hand, till it came to a level with his head. ' Look there 
sir,' addressing Gosford ; ' look there swear him, man 
swear him, man ; he's willing, dinna ye see, to swear what 
for dinna ye swear him ?'" 

Being informed that the oath must be voluntary, and 
his hand not be propped, with great reluctance, and looking 
in Jamie's face with a look of inexpressible persuasion, she 
whispered something in his ear which was inaudible, and 
retired a few paces from her station. No sooner, however, 
had she done so, than the hand, as if by the law of grav- 
itation, resumed its former position, and a loud scream in- 
dicated that the young heart of Jeanie had found a tem- 
porary stillness in insensibility. The poor creature was 
borne out of court, amidst some sympathy even from the 
hardened and merciless soldiery ; and Jamie, now a stupid, 
passive clod, was handcuffed and ordered to march. 

Lieutenant Beaton of Kilrennie commanded the detach- 
ment to which Avas entrusted the execution of the higher 
orders. They were all compelled to walk, with the excep- 
tion of Euphan Thriepland, who was mounted, as formerly, 
behind a corporal, together with a poor lame schoolmaster, 
whose feet were closely and most cruelly tied down to the 
sides of a wild and unbroken colt. Upon these two helpless 
and tormented beings principally, did it please and amuse 
the commander and his men to exercise their wit and ex- 
pend their jeers. At one time the schoolmaster was likened 
to a perched radish, and again he was a riding the stang" 
for his sins. Euphemia was designated " Dame Grunt," in 
humane allusion, no doubt, to the painful position which 
she occupied a la croupe, and which compelled her fre- 
quently to groan. Again she was acosted as the "Mother of 
all Saints," and the " True Blue Whigamore." One ob- 
served that the dominie would look wonderfully handsome 
in boots, (referring, no doubt, to the instrument of torture ;) 
and another observed that the lady would wondrous 
well become a St Johnstone's cravat namely, a halter. 
The foot-soldiers, Avho were armed with long pikes, made 
excellent application of their weapons ; and, ever and anon, 
as some weary wretch lagged behind, or some hungry or 
thirsty one seemed inclined to turn aside to procure food 
or drink, the " argumentum a posteriori" was applied vig- 
orously and unsparingly. The people of Fife, who were uni- 
versally favourably disposed towards the prisoners, flocked 
in upon their retired and out-of-the-way route, with every 
kind of provision and refreshment ; but, instead of being 
permitted to bestow them where they were needed, they 
were met with taunts, and, in some cases, with blows ; 
and the food which was intended for the prisoners, was 
uniformly devoured by their tormentors, or wasted and 
destroyed in the very presence and under the very eyes 
of those who were almost famishing for hunger. A stroll- 
ing piper, who happened to be crossing their route, was 
sportively enlisted into their service, and compelled, like 
Barton at Bannockburn, to play, very much to his own 
annoyance, such tunes as "The Whigs o' Fife," well 
known to be offensive to the friends of the Covenant 

" It was, indeed," says the Rev. Mr Frazer, with more 
of naivete and good-humour than might huve been ex- 
pected " it was, indeed, an uncommon sight to behold a 
large and mixed company of men and women, but indif- 



ft) 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



ferently clad and ill-assorted, marching over moors and 
hill -sides, with a roaring bagpipe at their tail ; the piper 
puffing and blowing, and, ever and anon, casting a sus- 
picious look behind, towards the pike points, which were 
occasionally applied to his person in a manner the least 
ceremonious possible." Might not this group form an ap- 
propriate subject for an Allan, a Wilkie, or a Harvey? 
About dusk the party had skirted the Lomonts, and 
were billeted for the night in the poor but pleasantly 
situated village of Freuchy. Each head of a family was 
made answerable with his property and life for the persons 
of those prisoners who were committed to his charge. And 
it is worthy of notice that not one of those poor oppressed 
and insulted sufferers who were all day long endeavour- 
ing to escape once attempted to implicate a single indi- 
vidual amongst all their kind and hospitable landlords. 

Upon rallying their numbers next morning, it was 
found that one aged individual, a forebear of ours, of 
the name of Watson, had died of over-fatigue ; and 
that the poor schoolmaster was so much injured by his 
Horsemanship that he could not possibly advance farther. 
When they arrived at the South Ferry on the Tay, the 
tide did not serve, and a most cruel and barbarous scene 
was exhibited. A young man, the son of the Rev. Mr 
Frazer, with the view of making interest for his father's 
release, had endeavoured to escape during the night. He 
was challenged by a sentinel in passing along the rocks, 
and^ not answering instantly, was immediately shot dead 
on the spot, His head was cut from the body, and, with 
the return of day, presented to the unfortunate and horri- 
fied parent, with, these words " There's the gallows face of 
your son !" Mr Frazer's own reflections on this scene 
deserve to be extracted from his written manuscripts : 
" O my Charles ! my dear, heart-broken Charles ! thy 
mother's joy and thy father's hope, and prop, and comfort ! 
To be thus deprived of thee, and for ever ! But I am 
wrong, very wrong: I had thee only as a loan from the 
Lord; and I know well that he gives 

" ' And when be takes away, 
He takes but what he gave.' 

Thou hast perished in the ranks amidst the soldiers of 
Christ ; and I doubt not that when the Captain of our Sal- 
vation shall appear, thou wilt appear with him." 

It would only fatigue and disgust the reader to give one 
tithe of the atrocities which were perpetrated during the 
whole march to Dunottar Castle. Keally, the manuscript 
narratives here concur in such statements as are calculated 
to make us conceive favourably of Hottentots and can- 
nibals : children torn from their mother's arms, and trans- 
fixed on pike points ; a woman in labour thrown into a 
pool in the North Esk ; lighted matches applied betwixt 
the fingers of old Euphan Thriepland, because she ven- 
tured to denounce such atrocities, &c. c. &c. Come 
we, then, after three or four days' march, to Dunottar 
Castle. 

The Castle of Dunottar stands upon a rocky peninsula ; 
and, at the time of which we are writing, was only accessible 
by a drawbridge. It has been, in successive years, the 
scene of much contention and bloodshed. It was here 
that Sir William Wallace is said to have burnt to the 
death not less than four thousand Southrons in one night. 
It was within these fire-seared and blackened walls that 
the unfortunate Marquis of Montrose renewed the horrors 
of conflagration; and it was here, too, that the brave Ogilvy 
so long and so determinedly defended our Scottish re- 
galia against the soldiers of the Commonwealth. It was, 
too, from out these walls, that Mrs Granger, wife of the 
minister of Kinneff, conveyed away, packed up and con- 
cealed amidst a bundle of clothes, the emblems of Scottish 
independence ; and that, after having concealed them till 
the Restoration, at one time beneath the i>ulj?it, and at 



another betwixt the plies of a double-bottomed bed, she 
returned them, upon the accession of Charles II., to 
Mr Ogilvy, who, along with the Earl Marischal and keeper 
of the regalia, Keith, were rewarded for their fidelity, the 
one with a baronetcy, and the other with the earldom of 
Kintire ; whilst neither this woman nor her husband, nor 
any of their posterity, have once yet been visited by any 
mark of royal or national gratitude : 

" IIos ego versiculos feci, tulit alter honores." 
It is thus that the great man stands in the light of the 
small, and that the royal vision is prevented from penetrat- 
ing beyond the objects in immediate juxtaposition. 

This Castle of Dunottar, which had so recently been 
honoured as the receptacle of the regalia, was now about 
to be converted into a state prison, and, like the Bass, to 
become subservient to the views of an alarmed and fluctu- 
ating council, at a time when the rebellion of the unfor- 
tunate Monmouth in England, and of the haughty and 
ill-advised Argyle in Scotland, had set the whole kingdom 
in a ferment, either of hope or apprehension, Mr Frazer's 
narrative of the entrance of the prisoners into the Castle, 
upon Sabbath the 24th day of May 1685, is sufficiently 
graphic and intelligible : 

" We passed along," says he, " a narrow way or draw- 
bridge, and from thence ascended under a covered road 
towards the Castle, which stands high up, and looks down 
upon the sea from three of its sides. A person in the garb 
of a jailor, with a bunch of large and rusty keys in his 
hand, opened a door on the seaward side of the building, 
and we were very rudely and insultingly commanded to 
enter. ' Kennel up, there, kennel up, ye dogs of the Cove- 
nant!' were amongst the best terms which were applied to us. 

" The laird of Balmagechan being amongst the last to 
penetrate into this abode of stench, damp, darkness, suffo- 
cation, and death, a soldier made a lounge at him with the 
point of his pike. Balmagechan was a peaceable man 
and a Christian; but this was somewhat too much so, turn- 
ing round in an instant, and closing at once with his 
insulting tormentor, he fairly wrested the pike from the 
soldier's grasp, and, splintering it in shivers over his 
head, he added 'Tak, then, that, in the meantime, 
thou Devil's gaet, to teach thee better manners !' The 
apartment into which, with scarcely room to stand, 
1 77 (our numbers having thus diminished from 200, on 
the march) human beings were thrust, was, in fact, dug 
out of the rock, and, unless by a small narrow window to- 
wards the sea, had no means of admitting either light or 
air. As the night advanced, the heat became intolerable, 
and a sense of suffocation, the most painful of any to which 
our frail nature can be exposed, seemed to threaten an 
excruciating, if not an immediate death. In vain we 
knocked, and called upon the guard, and implored a little 
air, and asked water, for God and mercy's sake. We 
were only answered by scoffs and jeers. At last nature, 
in many instances being entirely worn out, gave way. 
Some turned their heads over upon the shoulder of the 
persons nearest them, as if in the act of drinking water, and 
expired others lost their reason entirely, struck out furi- 
ously around them, tore their own hair and that of others, 
and then went off in strong and hideous convulsions. 
Happier were they, at this awful midnight hour, who 
entered this dungeon with a feeble step and in a wasted 
state of bodily strength ; for their struggle was short, and 
their death comparatively easy they died ere midnight: 
But far otherwise was it with many upon whom God had 
bestowed youth, health, and unimpaired strength. They 
stood the contest long ; and frequently, after they appeared 
to be dead, awoke again in renewed strength and ten 
times increased suffering. After the fatal discovery was 
made, that the door was not to be opened, the rush toward 
the opposite window became absolutely intolerable. The 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



Cl 



feeble were trod down, and even the strong wasted their 
strength in contending with each other. 

" Morning at last dawned, and our prison door flew sud- 
denly open. The Governor's lady had learned our fate ; and, 
even at the risk of giving offence to her lord, she had ordered 
us air and water, whilst he still slept. ' O woman, woman,' 
exclaims Mr Quentin Dick, in his M.S. before me ; ' thou 
art, and hast ever been, an angel. What does not man 
what do not we owe thee !' 

" In a word, more than the half perished on that dreadful 
night, and amongst those who were ultimately liberated by 
order in council, were the individuals who have been par- 
ticularized in this narrative." 

Reader, we inquire not into thy political creed we ask 
not whether thou art a Whig or a Tory, a Conservative or a 
Radical we can allow thee to be an honest and con- 
scientious man, on all these suppositions : all we ask of thee 
is this, " Art thou a man ?" The inference is inevitable. 

Perhaps some may wish to know what became of Euphan 
Thriepland, Jamie M'Birnie, and Jeanie Wilson. We are 
happy that, owing to an accidental occurrence, we can throw 
some light upon the subject. Last time we were in Dum- 
friesshire, and in Closeburn, our native parish, we read upon 
the door of a change-house, in the village of Croalchapel, 
this inscription, " Whisky, Ale, and British Spirits, sold 
here, by James M'Birnie." The coincidence of the name 
revived my long-obscured recollection of the past, and led, in 
fact, ultimately to the whole of this narrative. We learned, 
from an old bedrid-woman, the grandmother of this James, 
that he of Dunottar celebrity, had returned to Edinburgh 
and married Jeanie Wilson ; that they had taken auld aunt 
Euphan home to their dwelling ; and had been employed 
for several years after the Revolution, as nursery and seeds- 
men, in Edinburgh ; that, having realized a competency, 
they had ultimately retired to their native parish of Close- 
burn, and had tenanted a small farm called Stepends ; 
that their son had been a drover, and unsuccessful even 
to bankruptcy ; and that the family were now reduced to 
the condition which we beheld. 



No. III. PEDEN'S FAREWELL SERMON. 

WE believe there never was such a sad Sabbath witnessed 
as that upon which nearly four hundred of the established 
clergy of Scotland preached their farewell sermons and 
addresses to their several congregations. It was a day, as 
the historians of that period express it, of " wailing, and 
of loud lamentation, as the weeping of Jazer, when the 
lords of the heathen had broken down her principal 
plants ; and as the mourning of Rachel, who wept for her 
children, and would not be comforted." 

On the 4th day of October 1662, a council, under the 
commission of the infatuated and ill-advised Middleton, 
was held at Glasgow ; and, in an hour of brutal intoxication, 
it was resolved and decreed that all those ministers of the 
Church of Scotland who had, by a popular election, entered 
upon their cures since the year 1649, should, in the first 
instance, be arrested, nor permitted to resume their pulpits, 
or draw their stipends, till they had received a presentation 
at the hands of the lay patrons, and submitted to induction 
from the diocesan bishop. In other words, Presbytery, 
which had been so dearly purchased, and was so acceptable 
to the people of Scotland, was to be superseded by Prelacy ; 
and the mandate of the prince, or of his privy council, was 
to be considered in future as law, in all matters whether 
civil or ecclesiastical. It was not to be supposed that the 
descendants and admirers of Knox, and Hamilton, and 
Welsh, and Melville would calmly and passively submit 
to this ; and accordingly the 20th day of October the 
last Sabbath which, without conformity to the orders in 



council, the proscribed ministers were permitted to preach 

was a day anticipated with anxious feelings, and afterwards 
remembered to their dying day, by all who witnessed it 
It was our fortune, in our early life, to be acquainted with 
an old man, upwards of ninety, an inhabitant of the village 
of Glenluce, whose grandfather was actually present at the 
farewell or parting sermon which Mr Peden, the author of 
the famous prophecies which bear his name, delivered on 
this occasion to his parishioners. We have conversed with 
this aged chronicler so frequently and so fully upon the 
subject, that we believe we can give a pretty faithful report 
of what was then delivered by Peden. 

" I remember well," continued, according to my authority, 
the old chronicler, " I mind it well it seems but as yester- 
day, the morning of this truly awful and not to be forgotten 
day. It had been rain in the night-time, and the morning 
was dark and cloudy the mist trailed like the smoke o' a 
furnace, white and ragged, alang the hill taps. The heavens 
above seemed, as it were, to scowl upon the earth beneath. 
I rose early, as was my wont on the Sabbath morning, and 
hitched aAvay towards the tap o' the Briock. 1 had only 
continued, it micht be, an hour, in private meditation and 
prayer, whan I heard the eight-o'clock bells beginning to 
toll. Indeed, I could hear, from the place where I was, 
I may say, every bell in the Presbytery. The sound 
o' these bells is still in my ears it was unusually sweet 
and melodious ; and yet there was something very melan- 
choly in the sound. I thought on the blood of the saints 
by which these bells had been purchased ; upon the many 
souls, now gone to a better place, who had been summoned 
to a preached gospel by these bells ; and I thought, too, on 
the sad alteration which a few hours would produce, when 
the pulpits would be deserted by the worthy Presbyterian 
ministers who filled them, and be filled, it might be, by 
Prelatical curates wolves in sheeps' clothing, and fashion- 
less preachers at the best. Even at this early hour, I 
could see, every here and there, blue bonnets, and black 
and white plaids, and scarlet mantles, mixing with and 
coming forth every now and then from the broken and 
creeping mist. The Lord's own covenanted flock were e'en 
gaun awa to pluck a mouthfu (it micht be the last) o' hale- 
some and sanctified pasture. 

" The doors of the kirk of New Luce had been thrown 
open early in the morning ; but, owing to an immense con- 
course of people, a tent had been latterly erected on the 
brow face, immediately opposite to the kirk-stile, and the 
multitude had settled, and were, when we arrived, settling 
down, like bees around their queen, on all sides of it. 
Having advanced suddenly over the height, and come all 
at once within view of this goodly assembly, I found 
them engaged, as was their customary, till the minister's' 
appearance, in psalm-singing. A portion of the thirty- 
second psalm had been selected by the precentor, and ho 
was in the act of giving out, as it is termed, these appro- 
priate and comforting lines 

" ' Thou art my lading-place; thou shalt 
From trouble set me free ; 

And with songs of deliverance 
About shall compass me" 

when Peden made his appearance above the brow of the ad- 
joining linn, where he had probably been engaged for some 
time in preparatory and private devotion. He advanced with 
the pulpit Bible under his arm, and with a rapid, though 
occasionally a hesitating step. All eyes were at once turned 
upon him ; but he seemed lost in meditation, and altogether 
careless or unconscious of his exposed situation. ^ His 
figure was diminutive, but his frame athletic, and his step 
elastic. He wore a blue bonnet, from beneath which his 
dark hair flowed out over his shoulders, long, lank, and 
dishevelled. His complexion was sallow, but his eyes 
dark, keen, and penetrating. He had neither gown nor 
band ; but had his shirt-neck tied up with a narrow stock 



TALES OF THE BORDERS 1 . 



of uncommon whiteness. Thus habited, he approached the 
congregation, who rose up to make way for him ; ascended 
the ladder attached to the back-door of the tent ; and forth- 
with proceeded to the duties of the day. 

" ' Therefore watch and remember ; for the space of tnree 
years I ceased not to warn every one, night and day, with 
tears.' 

"These words of the text were read out in a firm, though 
somewhat shrill and squeaking tone of voice ; and as he 
lifted up his eyes from the sacred page, and looked east 
and west around him, there was a general preparatory 
cough, and adjustment of position and dress, which clearly 
bespoke the protracted attention which was about to be 
given. And, truly, although he continued to discourse 
from twelve o'clock till dusk, I cannot say that I felt 
tired or hungry. Nor did it appear that the speaker's 
strength or matter failed him nay, he even rose into a 
degree of fervid and impressive eloquence towards the close, 
which none who were present ever heard equalled. 

" ' And now, my friends,' continued he, in a concluding 
appeal to their consciences ' and now I am gaun to 
warn ye ancnt the future, as weel as to admonish you of 
the past. Ye'll see and hear nae mair o' puir Sandy Peden 
after this day's walk is owre. See ye that puir bird" (at 
this moment a hawk had darted down, in view of the 
whole congregation, in pursuit of its prey) " see ye that 
puir panting laverock, which has now crossed into that 
dark and deep linn, for safety and for refuge from the claws 
and the beak of its pursuers ? I'll tell ye what, my friends 
the twasome didna drift down this way, frae that dark 
clud, and along that bleak heathery brae-face, for naething. 
They were sent, they were commissioned ; and if ye had 
arisen to your feet, ere they passed, and cried ' Shue !' ye 
couldna hae frightened them oot o' their mission. They 
cam to testify o' a persecuted remnant, an' o' a cruel 
pursuin foe of a kirk which will soon hae to betak 
hersel, like a bird, to the mountains, and of an enemy 
which will not allow her to rest, by night nor by day, even 
in the dark recesses o' the rocks, or amidst the damp an' 
cauld mosses o' the hills. They cam, an' they war welcome, 
to gie auld Sandy a warnin too, an' to bid him tak the 
bent as fast as possible ; to flee, even this very night, for 
the pursuer is even nigh at hand. But, hooly, sirs, we 
maunna pairt till oor wark be finished ; as an auld writer 
has it ' till our work is finished, we are immortal.' I hae 
e'en dune my best, as saith an apostle, amang ye ; an' I 
hae this day the consolation, an* that's no sma', to think 
that my puir exertions hae been rewarded wi' some sma' 
success. An' had it been His plan, or His pleasure, to 
have permitted me to lay doon my auld banes, whan I had 
'nae mair use for them, beneath ane o' the through-stanes 
there, I canna say but I wad hae been content. But, since 
it's no His guid an' sovereign pleasure, I hae ae request to 
mak before we separate this nicht, never in this place to 
meet again.' (Hereupon the sobbing and the bursting 
forth of hitherto suppressed sorrow, was almost universal.) 
Ye maun a' stand upon your feet, an' lift up your hands, 
an' swear, before the great Plead an' Master o' the Presby- 
terian Kirk of Scotland,' (there was a general rising 
and show of hands, whilst the speaker continued,) ' that, 
till an independent Presbyterian minister ascend the pul- 
pit, you will never enter the door o' that kirk mair; an' 
let this be the solemn league an' covenant betwixt you an' 
me, an' betwixt my God an' your God, in all time coining. 
Amen ! so let it be !' 

" In this standing position, which we had thus, almost 
insensibly assumed, the last prayer or benediction was 
heard, and the concluding psalm was sung 
" ' For he in his pavilion shall 

Me hide in evil days, 
In secret of his tent me hide, 
And on a. rock me raise. 1 



I never listened to a sound, or beheld a spectacle more 
overpowering. The night cloud had come down the 
hill above us the sun had set. It was twilight ; and 
the united and full swing of the voice of praise as- 
cended through the veil of evening, from the thousands 
of lips, even to the gate of heaven. Whilst we continued 
singing, our venerable pastor descended from the tent the 
Word of God in his hand, and the accents of praise on 
his lips ; and, at the concluding line, he stood fairly and 
visibly out by himself, upon the entry towards the east 
door of the Kirk. Having shut the door and locked it, 
in the view and in the hearing of the people, he knocked 
upon it thrice with the back of the pulpit Bible, accom- 
panying this action with these words, audibly and distinctly 
pronounced 

" ' I arrest thee, in my Master's name, that none ever enter 
by thee, save those who enter by the door of Presbytery.' 
So saying, he ascended the wall at the kirk-stile spread 
his arms abroad to their utmost stretch, and, in the most 
solemn and impressive manner, dismissed the multitude." 

Although Peden was thus banished from that pulpit 
to which, during the civil wars, he had been elected by the 
unanimous voice of a most attached people, he did not 
thereupon, or therefore, refrain entirely from exercising 
his function as a minister of the Gospel ; but, having be- 
taken himself to those fastnesses which lie betwixt Wigton 
and Ayrshire, he was in the habit of assembling, occasion- 
ally, around him, the greater part of his congregation, as 
well as many belonging to the neighbouring parishes. In 
the meantime, after several months' vacancy, a young and 
half- educated lad from Aberdeen was appointed by the 
government in the capacity of curate. This person was, 
of course, hated by the parish ; but this hatred Avas exalted 
to abhorrence, in consequence of his immoral and unclerical 
life and conversation. 

William Smith and Jessie Lawson were the children, 
the first of a respectable farmer, and the other of a pious, 
though poor widow woman. There had been some diffi- 
culties in the way of the lovers 

" For the course of true love never yet run smooth ;" 
but these had at last been removed, and the young couple 
were about to be united, with the consent of relatives, in 
the honourable bands of matrimony- But the young and 
dissolute curate had caught a glimpse of Jessie ; and, 
having been fascinated by her beauty, had not been back- 
ward in signifying, both to mother and daughter, his 
honourable (for they really were so in this case) inten- 
tions. Janet, however, was too sound a Covenanter to 
give her consent. 

" Na, na," she continued; "my bairn, I wot weel, has 
been baptized by the holy Mr Welsh, and she has lang 
sucked in the milk of the true and covenanted word, frae 
worthy and godly Mr Peden, and it will ill become her 
to turn her back on her first lover, for the sake o' ony 
yearthly concern whatever." 

In the meantime winter drew on, with its frosts, and its 
blasts, and its snows, and the lovers became more and more 
anxious to be united in the bands of hallowed love, in con- 
sequence of the pressing and importunate addresses of the 
curate. Here, however, a difficulty occurred ; which was, 
however, overcome by bribing the schoolmaster, as session 
clerk, to proclaim them to empty benches, and by obtain- 
ing Peden's consent to perform the marriage ceremony on 
their producing the requisite evidence of proclamation. 
The place appointed was the Bogle Glen, and the time 
midnight, on the second day of January 1684. The night 
for such meetings were usually held during night was 
stormy there being a considerable degree of snow-drift ; 
but Peden was not easily diverted from his purpose ; nor 
was his audience unaccustomed to such exposures. So the 
night-meeting for religious worship took place beneath the 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



63 



Glecls' Craig, from the brow or apron of which the 
minister officiated. Beneath him, huddled together under 
plaids, stood his devoted and attentive congregation, whilst 
the moon looked down, at intervals, on a landscape over 
which a frosty wind was ever and auon carrying the snow- 
drift. Beside the speaker were arranged, on chairs and 
stools, some young women bearing children to be baptized, 
and the youthful couple about to be united in marriage. 
The usual service proceeded ; and the voice of psalms 
was heard amidst the solemn stillness of the midnight 
hour. The children were next baptized from an adjoining 
well, which presented itself opportunely, like the waters of 
Meribah, from a cleft of the rock. The young people had 
just been united, and Peden was in the act of pronouncing 
the usual benediction, when the tramp of horses' feet was 
suddenly heard, and in an instant a discharge of muskets 
indicated but too surely the nature of the assault. All was 
challenge, capture, and dispersion ; through which the 
screams of the young bride and the menacing voice of the 
curate were distinctly heard. 

About four o'clock of the same eventful night, the manse 
of New Luce was discovered to be on fire, and some hundreds 
of figures were seen congregated in frantic and menacing 
attitudes around it. At last a form was discovered, bearing 
off from the flames something which appeared to be inani- 
mate. The curate's screams were heard from his bedroom- 
window ; and, by the assistance of the military, who had 
now arrived, he was relieved, by a rope, from his critical 
situation ; and the young lovers were next morning dis- 
covered, safe and uninjured, in their own home, and in each 
other's arms. 



No. IV. THE PERSECUTION OF THE M'MICHAELS. 

THE miseries of war are not confined to the battle-field 
and the actual return of the killed and wounded. There 
is an atmosphere of wo and intense suffering, which hangs 
dense and heavy over the whole theatre of war the de- 
vastation and horrors of a wide marching enemy, advancing 
like the simoom of the desert, and converting into a howl- 
ing wilderness the peopled and rejoicing district. Life 
is extinguished by terror and deprivation as well as by 
the sword ; and with this difference, too, that the former 
process is so much the more severe that it is protracted 
and defenceless. Civil war is, in this respect in particular, 
the most revolting of all. The animosities and resentments 
of opposing parties are greatly exasperated by proximity of 
situation and community of country ; and the revenge of 
the stronger directed upon the weaker party is uniformly 
marked by many atrocities. Of this character, was un- 
happily the latter period of the domination of Charles II., 
together with the whole four years of the Papistical in- 
fatuation of the second James. Men, women, and children 
were not only shot, drowned, and spiked; but thousands,^who 
escaped this extreme fate, were so worn out by watchings, 
and cold, and hunger, and mental anxieties, as to fall under 
the power of diseases from which they never recovered. 

An instance illustrative of these remarks occurred, accord- 
ing to invariable tradition, (partly oral, and partly written,) 
in the Pass of Dalveen, one of the wildest and most sublime 
localities in Dumfries-shire. In the days of which we 
speak, there were no mail-coaches, nor did the public road 
from Edinburgh to Dumfries pass, as now, through that most 
fearfully sublime ravine ; all then was seclusion and soli- 
tude in that mountain retirement, where the winds met and 
mingled from manya converging glen; and the eagle and the 
raven divided the supremacy above. The site of the shep- 
herd's sheiling is indeed still ascertainable, by the depth of 
verdure which marks the departed walls ; and the traveller 
Miay see it by the burn side, almost half wav down the pass. 



The family which, during the latter period of the eight- 
and-twenty years' persecution, occupied this humble dwell- 
ing, was named M'Michael. There were two brothers of 
that name ; Daniel, who was a bachelor, and Gilbert, who 
was married, and the father of a son, now a lad of ten or 
twelve, and two daughters, still younger. The mother of 
these children was a M'Caig, a name immortalized in the 
annals of persecution. The two brothers, Gilbert and 
Daniel, had rendered themselves peculiarly obnoxious to 
the spite and revenge of the curate of Durrisdeer, by their 
refusing to attend ordinances ; and their obtaining baptism, 
and even, as times arid occasions offered, the scaling or- 
dinance of the Supper, from the hands of worthy Mr Welsh. 
Besides all this, when hard pursued one day in the pass, 
Daniel and Gilbert had defended themselves against a whole 
troop of Douglas' dragoons, by occupying the rocky sum- 
mits of the Lowther Hills, and precipitating loose and re- 
bounding rocks on the pursuers beneath. It was on this 
occasion that " Red Rob," of persecuting notoriety, had 
his shoulder-blade dislocated ; and that Lieutenant James 
Douglas himself, in his extreme eagerness to scale tho 
steep, had two of his front teeth dislodged. 

Winter 1686 was peculiarly severe, and the proximitj 
of Drumlanrig Castle, th.3 residence of the Queensberry 
Douglases, rendered it exceedingly unsafe for the two ob- 
noxious brothers, in particular, to visit their home, unless 
it were by snatches, and at the dead hour of night. The 
natural consequence of all this was, that both brothers lost 
their health, and that Gilbert, in particular, who was con- 
stitutionally infirm, contracted, or rather exasperated, a bad 
cough, which threatened serious consequences. It is quite 
true that a warm bed and the comforts of home might 
have done much for the complaint; but Gilbert's ordinary 
bed-room was the damp extremity of a hollow in a rock, 
without fire, and with his plaid alone as a nightly couch 
and covering. It was on a cold and drifty day in the month 
of January, that Gilbert, in the presence of his family, and 
under hourly apprehension of a visit from the barbarous 
Douglas, called his family around him, and, leaning upon 
the bosom of his beloved wife, addressed them in words to 
the following effect : 

" My dearest wife, my dear children, and my beloved 
Daniel", stand round me, for I am dying." Thereupon, there 
was much weeping, and the poor woman had to be carried 
out of the room, nearly insensible. This pause was employed 
by Gilbert in secret prayer and ejaculation 

" Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart in peace ! Lord, 
comfort the widow and the fatherless ! Lord, give strength 
for trial, and faith for dying like a Christian !" 

When the poor widow had been so far recovered as t<? 
be able to return to the bedside, the dying man proceeded, 
with frequent pauses and much weakness, thus : ^ 

"I hope I may say, though at an infinite distance, with the 
Apostle Paul, I have fought a good fight. I have kept the 
faith the faith of my Saviour, of his holy Apostles, and of 
our Covenanted Kirk. I have kept it in bad report, as well 
as in good in the day of her extreme suffering, as well as 
when godly Mr Brown was minister of Durrisdeer. They 
have driven me from my humble but happy home, and 
from my wife and children, to the mountain and the cave ; 
but I have ever said 

"' I to the hills will lift mine eyes, 

From whence doth come mine aid, 
My safety cometh from tho Lord.' 

And I have ever found it so. I have been shot at, pursued? 
hunted like a wild beast, and exposed to disease, and pain, 
and extreme weakness whilst I was, unless at intervals, 
denied the voice that soothes, the truth that cheers, and 
the looks of sympathy that mitigate in the extremest suffer- 
ing ; and I am now, if it shall please God to withhold f 
a little the foot of the merciless and the ungodly 1 am 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



now about to close my testimony by sealing it with my 
latest breath." 

This exertion was too much for his exhausted strength ; 
and it seemed to all that life had fled ; when, after a few 
short and heavy respirations, he again proceeded " Lord, 
give me strength for this last, this parting effort in this our 
covenanted cause ! Now, my dearly beloved, I leave you ; 
for I hear my Master's call ; and the Spirit and the bride 
say, Come ! I leave you with this last, this dying advice : 
Let nothing deprive you of your crown, hold fast your in- 
tegrity ; for He whom you serve will come quickly, and 
terrible will His coming be to all his enemies." 

" Enemies, indeed!" vociferated Lieutenant Douglas, who 
had unperceived entered the apartment " those enemies, 
friend Gibby, are nearer, I trow, than ye wot, and ready, 
with leave of this good company here, to take special care 
that his Majesty's enemies shall be suitably provided for. 
Come, budge, old Benty, and you too of the lion's den. 
Come my lambs, here, will be more difficult to manage than 
the lions of your Jewish namesake. Come, Mr Dan up, 
and be going ; for the day breaketh apace, and it will be 
pleasant pastime just to give us a stave of the death psalm 
under the old thorn, on the brae face yonder. Red Rob's 
shoulder, here, has sworn a solemn league and covenant 
against you ; and, as to my two front teeth, they are com- 
plete non-conformists to Whigs and Whiggery, through all 
generations. Amen !" 

In vain was all this profane barbarity poured on the ears 
of the dead man : old Gilbert had breathed his last at 
the very first perception of Douglas' presence His God 
had in mercy withdrawn him from his last and most severe 
trial. 

''Look there, look there, look there!" were the first 
articulate accents which crossed the lips of the distracted 
widow " look, ye sons o' Belial ye men o' bluid on the 
pale an' lifeless victim o yer horrid persecution. Ay, aff 
wi' him !" (for Douglas had now approached the bed, as if 
to ascertain that no deception had been practised upon him) 
<l aff wi' him, to the croft, or to the maiden, or to the 
thorn- three ; sboot him, head him, hang him ah! ha! 
, } ia ! ha!" (Hysterically screaming.) "He has escaped 
ye a'. Yer bullets canna pierce him ; yer flames canna 
scorch him ; yer malice canna reach him, yonder." (Point- 
ing at the same time upwards.) " There, even there, 
whar ye an' yer band shall never enter, the wicked cease 
from troubling, an' the weary ay, thank God ! the 
weary are at rest. Rest, here, indeed, they had none ; but 
there they shall rest, when ye shall lie tormented !" 

" Come, come, Mother Testimony, give us no more of 
your blarney. Let us only over the shank yonder, and 
you and your whelps there may yelp and howl till the day 
of judgment, if you please. But, as for you, friend Dan," 
(speaking ironically, and imitating the Covenanting lan- 
guage and manner,) "does the Spirit move thee to budge? 
has the Lord dealt bountifully with thee ? and will He 
' save thee from six troubles, yea, from seven ?' Come, 
come, friend," taking him rudely by the arm, and pulling 
him, with the assistance of Red Rob, towards the door. 
" ' The Spirit and the bride say, Come ;' there is a maiden 
longing for thy embrace yea, a maiden whose lovers 
have been many, and whose embrace is somewhat close. 
But she, having taken up her residence in the guid town 
of Edinburgh, is afar off ; but, lest thou shouldst feel disap- 
pointment, my lambs, here, have become somewhat frisky 
of late, and they will be most happy to give thee a little 
matrimonial music, to the tune of ' Make ready, present, 
fire !' " 

Daniel M'Michael had long been accustomed to view 
death as a messenger of peace. His days now manifestly 
numbered had been sorely troubled. His faith in his 
Saviour was, with him, not a fluctuating, but a fixed prin- 



ciple ; like Stephen, he might ascend to see Leaven opened 
and his soul was long absent in fervent prayer. He 
prayed for a persecuted kirk, for a persecuted remnant, 
for his friends and for his enemies, even those whose hands 
were raised against his life. 

" The guid Lord," said he, " forgive ye, for ye know not 
what ye do ! The thief on the cross was forgiven j David, 
the murderer, was forgiven ; and e'en Judas himself may 
have obtained mercy. Oh, ye puir, infatuated, godless band ! 
it is not for myself that I pray it is for you ; for when the 
day of wrath arrives, where will ye flee to. To the hills ? 
they will be cast into the sea. To the rocks ? they will 
have melted with fervent heat. To the linns and the 
glens ? but where will ye find them, in that great and not- 
able day of the Lord ?" 

Daniel was proceeding thus, when Red Rob struck him 
over the head with the handle of his sword. 

" Down to the earth with thee and thy everlasting jaw ! 
We want none of thy prayers and petitionings. We 
are King Charles' men, and our God is our captain, our 
reward our pay, our heaven is our mess-room, and our 
eternity an hour's kissing of a bonny lass." 

Here the commander interfered, and the poor victim was 
raised, though scarcely able to stand on his legs, from the 
stun of the blow. 

" And now," said Douglas, " for the last time, wilt thou 
conform and preserve thy life, or die ?" 

The poor man groaned, and fell on his knees. The band 
was removed to a distance ; and, in a few seconds, the 
smoke rose white and whirling from the hill-side ! The 
work of death was done ! 

There is a small clump of old thorns which faces the 
highroad from Dumfries to Edinburgh, as it enters the 
Pass of Dalveen from the south. At the lower extremity of 
this woodland patch, there is a grey rock or stone, covered 
with a thick coating of moss. It was whilst resting against 
this stone, that Daniel M'Michael was shot, about half-an- 
hour posterior to the cruelties which have been narrated. 

A stone, with a suitable inscription, has been placed over 
the mangled remains of this good man, in the churchyard 
of Durrisdeer, whilst a marble and gilt monument, of the 
most elegant and tasteful character, occupies the whole of 
the aisle or nave of the church- The latter monument 
perpetuates the memory and the virtues of the noble family 
of Douglas ; whilst the former rude and now mutilated 
flagstone mentions an act of atrocity perpetrated by a 
cadet of the family. In that day when the secrets of families 
and individuals shall be made known, it shall be manifested 
whose memory and virtues best deserve to be perpetuated. 

The eldest daughter of Mrs Janet M'Michael, or M'Caig, 
was married, after the Revolution, to the second son (John) 
of Thomas Harkness of Mitchelslacks, from whom, in a 
lineal descent, the author of these scraps derives his birth. 
Is it to be wondered at, then, that we feel, through every 
drop of blood and ramification of nerves, a devotedness 
to the great cause of constitutional freedom and rational 
reform ? But we hope the cause of political liberty may 
never be mixed up with the concerns of that Church Avhich 
our ancestors founded on the dead bodies of martyrs, and 
cemented with their blood. We may return to this subject 
again, for we have yet many recollections to record. 




al, ^rratutfonarg, antr 



OF THE 



AND OF SCOTLAND. 




THE SLAVE. 

SOME of the inhabitants of Edinburgh, who, some years 
since, were in the habit of enjoying the pure air and 
delightful prospects which the head of Burntsfield Links 
and the Burghmuirhead afford, may remember the person 
of whose eventful life I am about to narrate a few pas- 
sages. He was a square-built, thick-set old man, short in 
stature, with a weather-beaten countenance; which, though 
harsh in its expression at the first glance, exhibited, in con- 
versation, all the traits of a mind influenced by humane 
sentiments and benevolent feelings. He was often to be 
seen standing near the wells, at the south border of the 
-Links, where the females bleach their linen ; gazing stead- 
fastly upon them, his rough features in continued change, 
'as if some inward feelings completely engrossed his whole 
faculties, and indulging in frequent mutterings, as if the 
occupations of those whose motions he was observing, had 
roused some latent thoughts that had been laid up in his 
memory in former years. When I saw him first, he 
was busy looking at a few sprightly young females, whose 
loud laugh enlivened the scene of the bleaching-ground, 
as they were splashing the water on each other in merri- 
ment. His features had something fearful in them. Anger 
flashed from his dark blue eyes, his shaggy eyebrows which 
covered them were knit, his teeth were compressed ; and 
such unaccountable passion I had never seen so fearfully ex- 
pressed. I almost shrunk from him ; yet curiosity detained 
me, and I saw his features gradually relax, and a languid 
smile succeed his fearful frown. The change was as un- 
accountable as the contrast was striking, and I could scarcely 
believe that I still looked upon the same individual. The 
circumstance prejudiced me against him; for I attributed 
his fixed gaze upon the females to a cause very different 
from the true one ; though why he should frown upon 
them I was still at a greater loss to understand. I saw 
him every day on the golfing ground ; I wished for no 
intercourse with him, though there was a strange anxiety 
in my mind to know more of him ; and, often as I 
followed the game we were busily engaged in, my eyes 
would involuntarily turn to where he stood or walked ; and 
so habituated did I become to his presence that, when he 
vas absent, I felt as if all was not as it used to be on the 
golfing ground. No one of whom I made inquiries knew 
aught of him ; all I coujd learn was, that he was known by 
the name of the Captain, and had a black servant, who, 
with an aged female, constituted his whole household at 
Morningside, where he resided in one of those small self- 
contained villas in that retreat. 

One morning towards the end of September, I was up 
rather earlier than usual, as I had engaged to accompany 
some friends upon a small party of pleasure ; and, taking a 
turn, I had sauntered down past Merchiston Castle, to see 
how the reapers were getting on with their labour in the 
harvest-fields. There I met the identical Captain, the sub- 
ject of my curiosity, coming up the road, accompanied by 
a female, who leant upon his right arm as if she walked 
with difficulty ; while in his left he carried a young child, 
whose head lay upon his broad shoulder, pillowed as if 
165. VOL. IV. 



asleep, or depressed with sickness ; and his black servant, 
who bore a considerable burden, walked by their side. 
The female was evidently poor, but neat and clean ; and her 
features were pale as death, with an expression of sickness 
and languor which roused my sympathy with my approba- 
tion of the Captain's benevolence for I was satisfied he 
was engaged in an act of charity. 

''Billy," I heard him say, '-'you had as well go on 
before, and tell Mary to make all ready for our arrival. 
Poor thing ! she is a sailor's wife, and one of us." 

" Yes, Massa, I do so gladly do so," replied the negro. 
And away he moved from them, past me, with the bundle 
upon his arm ; the smile that lit up his black face, giving it, 
in my estimation, a look more interesting than I thought 
an African's could possess. The female looked gratefully at 
her supporter ; and, as the Captain gazed first at her, then 
at her babe, I could see his clear blue eye glisten with 
tears my own heart swelled, my bad impressions left me 
in a moment, and I could have put him in my bosom ; I 
bowed to him with true reverence, as if I asked pardon 
for the injustice I had done him, and he looked at me as 
if he was gratified, and gently nodded his head all the 
return he could make, so fully occupied was he with his 
benevolent labours. 

" My good sir," said I, " since you seem to be engaged 
in a noble act, may I request to be allowed to lend my 
aid ?" 

" Certainly, with all my heart," replied he ; " for I fear 
this good woman gets on but poorly with all the assistance 
I can give her." 

" God bless you both," said the woman, as I gave her 
my arm, " for your kindness ! Oh, my baby ! my poor 
baby, I fear, has got his death in the cold of this miser- 
able night. My Willie ! little did you think that your 
Peggy was so near, and exposed to the bare heavens, sick 
and houseless, or you would have come to her help." 

I requested her not to exert herself; and, as we proceeded 
I learned that the Captain and Billy, having been out early, 
had found the female and child in the middle of a group of 
reapers, who had discovered her at the entrance of the field 
chilled, and almost deprived of sense, with the infant 
wrapped up in her bosom ; and they had in part restored 
her to some faint degree of consciousness, when the Captain 
arrived, and took the whole charge upon himself and his 
servant. The negro had used all the expedition in his 
power, and met us before we reached the house. 

"Massa," said he, "you give me the picaninny I 
carry it, if you please." 

The child opened its languid eyes as he laid hold ot it ; 
and, looking in the negro's face, screamed with fright, 
leaned towards its mother, (who soothed it Avith her voice 
in vain,) and nestled once more upon the Captain's shoulder, 
claspino 1 its little arms firmly round his neck. 

"Let him remain, Billy," said he ; "I think the young 
thing loves me." 

In a few minutes, we reached the house, where Mary 
received the female and child with all a mother's care, 
while the Captain and I looked on with feelings of satis- 
faction. I bade him adieu, promising to call in the evening. 
The day on which I had anticipated to be so happy, hung 



CG 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



rather heavy upon my hands than otherwise ; and I longed 
much for an interview with the Captain, expecting, when 
an intimacy was established, to be much amused with 
his conversation, as, from his appearance, he was no com- 
mon character, and he had already roused my curiosity, 
by some broken hints of his adventures. I waited upon 
him, and found the female much restored, and the negro 
nursing the child, who appeared as much pleased with 
his nurse as he had been alarmed in the morning. 
After the first compliments were exchanged, I learned that 
the woman was the wife of a sailor, and on her way to 
Leith, to join him. She had journeyed on foot from Lanark, 
where she had been living with her mother, during the 
time he had been on a voyage to the South Seas. Having 
got accounts of his arrival in London, and his being to 
be in Leith, where he had got a berth in one of the Leith 
and London smacks, and where he wished her to come and 
reside, she had set out, but come off her road, to visit a 
relation she had, who resided in Colinton, and with whom 
she had intended to stay during the night ; but, unfortu- 
nately, she found that her relation had been dead for some 
weeks. The shock and grief had a great effect upon her ; 
and, having no other acquaintance in the place, she had 
resolved to proceed to Edinburgh, as she calculated there 
was sufficient time for her to do so before it would be dark, 
and the weather was delightful. Oppressed with her 
bundle, and sunk by her grief, she had plodded on, in the 
hopes of soon meeting the husband of her love ; yet still 
her progress was slow, and the sun had set for some time, 
and the shades of evening had begun to thicken, ere she 
reached Craig-Lockhart ; but the spires of the distant 
city began to rise in view, and she hoped soon to see the 
end of her toil, when, from over- exertion, or some other 
cause, she became sick and faint her limbs bent beneath 
her and with difficulty she made her way to a gate, to 
be off the roadside, in hopes that the attack would soon 
go off", and she would resume her way. She fainted ; and, 
when she came to her senses again, her babe was crying 
piteously upon her bosom. It was completely dark ; and, 
after stilling the child, she in vain attempted to rise 
and resume her journey. It was far beyond her strength; 
and fear, bordering on despair, took possession of her mind. 
It was very chill ; and. covering her infant in the best man- 
ner she could from the cold, she, almost without hope, 
commended herself to God, and, weeping, resigned herself 
calmly to her fate. She never expected to survive until the 
morning. The tedious hours rolled on, she knew not how 
her child slept soundly, and her heart was in close 
communion with that merciful God who sustained her in 
all this misery until the voices of the reapers sounded 
upon her ears like heavenly music, and hope once more 
warmed her breast ; yet she was, at their first coming up, so 
weak that she could scarcely speak a symptom that sur- 
prised her, for she was unconscious of her extreme ex- 
haustion, and her heart was hale from the manner in which 
she had employed her thoughts during the cheerless hours. 

This is almost the words of the poor creature, who now 
was able to move about, and expressed a wish to proceed 
to Leith a step that would not be heard of by the Captain, 
who said lie would not allow her to depart until he had 
ascertained that her husband had arrived ; and the name 
of the smack in which he sailed having been ascertained, 
we looked into the newspapers for the arrivals and de- 
partures at Leith, and found that the Czar had not arrived. 
The grateful Margaret agreed to remain, to the delight of 
the negro, who appeared as fond of the child as if it had 
been his own. At the Captain's request, I agreed, with 
pleasure, to stay supper. 

* 4 How I do love black Billy !" said my host ; " this is 
a new trait of him ; he is bold as a lion, faithful as a dog, 
and yet mild as a lamb." 



" Sir," said I, a you appear to have a great regard for 
your black servant ; I believe, from what I see, he is worthy 
of it." 

" He is noc my servant," said he " lie is my friend ; yet 
it would grieve him to see any one do any little office for 
me, besides himself. He is as humble as he is good ; and if 
you knew his history and mine, you would not be sur- 
prised at what I now say of him." 

" Nothing that I know of would give me more pleasure," 
replied I, " than to know a little more of him and his 
friend, would he be .so kind as oblige me." 

" With all my heart," replied the old man, " if you have 
the patience to hear me." 

Supper was at this time brought in by Billy, and soor 
dispatched, when we drew in our chairs, and, seated by the 
fireside, I felt as if I had been on intimate'terms with him 
for many years. 

" My name is William Robertson," he began ; " I am a 
native of Edinburgh, born within the sound of St Giles' 
bells. My parents were once in a respectable line of busi- 
ness ; but they died Avhen I was very young, leaving me to 
the care of my paternal uncle for I was an only child. 
This uncle, who has long since rendered his account at 
that judgment- seat where we must all appear, took pos- 
session of all my father's property, and became tutor to me. 
I was too young, at the time, to know my loss, but soon 
felt it in all its bitterness ; for he used me very ill, so much 
so that I trembled at his voice. I was quite neglected, and 
allowed to ramble about as much as I pleased, amongst 
the other idle boys of the neighbourhood. I could read 
and write a little at the death of my parents, which was 
all the instruction I received. I was now nearly thirteen ; 
and, as my uncle's abuse became quite intolerable to me, 
I left the house, boy as I was, and entered on board a 
trader at Leith, which was on the point of sailing for 
America, The captain, who was one of the best of men, 
waited upon my uncle before we sailed ; and, I believe, as 
much by threat of compulsion by law, as any entreaty he 
used, got from him a few necessaries for me for, besides 
his other ill usage, he kept me miserably clad. The five 
years I sailed in the Bounty of Leith, were the happiest I 
had ever spent for my kind master had me taught navi- 
gation, and everything necessary for a seaman to know ; 
but, in the middle of this prosperity, when I was to have 
been made his mate next voyage, the American war broke 
out, and I was impressed as soon as our vessel cast anchor 
in Leith Roads. I was only grieved to be parted from 
my kind captain, who Avas as vexed to leave me but in 
vain he applied to have me set at liberty ; and, to be short, 
I served out the period of the war, and was in a good 
deal of service. The seventy- four I was in, being on the 
West India station, I was not paid off for some months 
after the peace. On arriving at Portsmouth, I followed 
the usual course of sailors ; and, having gone to amuse 
myself with some of my shipmates, I got robbed of all I 
had in the world ; and, when I came to my senses, I found 
I had not even a sixpence in my pocket, a shoe ou my 
feet, or a hat on my head. I was thus in a strange place, 
quite destitute ; but I soon got a loan of some money from 
one of my comrades, who had been more prudent or more 
fortunate than myself, and set off for London, to proceed 
to Leith. I learned there, from a Leith trader, that the 
Bounty had been taken by the French, and that my old 
captain had left going to sea ; so I gave up all thoughts of 
returning to Leith. Berths were at this time not to be 
obtained the seamen were to be seen wandering upon the 
quays of every port, begging for employment in vain ; and 
thus, young and vigorous as I was, I was reduced to great 
want. ]n this dilemma, I thought of writing to my uncle 
being advised by one of my acquaintances, who kneAV much 
more of the world than, I did, to do so, and threaten to 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



call him to account for his intromissions with my father's 
effects, if he did not send me, by return of post, a few 
pounds for my immediate wants. I waited most anxiously 
for an answer, which I duly received ; but it brought me 
no supply, and I learned that he had been for a long time 
bankrupt, and was at this time, if possible, in greater want 
than myself. In a day or two after, I got a berth in a 
Bristol trader, whose master was an old messmate of mine, 
and who having told me I had a better chance in Bristol 
than in London, I cheerfully made the run ; but I found 
berths as difficult to be obtained there as in London ; and, 
in this desperate state of my affairs, I was persuaded to go 
a voyage to the cpast of Africa, in a slaving ship a species 
of employment that no seaman will engage in, if he can 
do better. The men are in general not well used ; and the 
danger is great as regards life, both from fatigue and the 
climate. You must not judge of me by this voyage ; for 
the slave trade was then as legitimate as any other branch 
of commerce, and much the same, for popularity or un- 
popularity, as it is in America at the present time." 

" J don't think harshly of you on this account/' replied 
I ; "I only beg you to be as circumstantial as you can, 
regarding this inhuman branch of traffic, now so happily 
destroyed, by the unwearied efforts of Christian benevo- 
lence." 

11 To proceed, the vessel lay at King's Road, waiting my 
arrival on board, to overhaul her stores, to see what might 
be awanting. Her name was the Queen Charlotte ; she 
mounted twenty-two guns ; her captain was called by the 
seamen the Gallipot Captain, as he had formerly been 
doctor on board the same vessel, and, her captain having 
died in her last voyage, he was now the commander, in 
consequence of having brought her home. I went on 
board in the captain's boat, which was waiting for me, and, 
to my great joy, found an old messmate who had sailed in 
the Exeter man-of-war with me. He was now second- 
mate of the Queen Charlotte, and I was engaged as boat- 
swain. We were soon ready for sea ; and unmoored about 
eight o'clock, the wind chopping about to the east. The 
captain and pilot came on board through the night, and we 
set sail for the African coast on the morning of the 1st of 
May 1788. We passed the Island of Madeira on the 
8th of the month ; and, having got beyond the Canary 
and Cape de Verd Islands, all became bustle on board, 
leaking preparations for the coast ; the carpenters fitting 
up barricades to keep the male and female slaves apart, 
and the cooper getting ready all the tubs and vessels for 
their use. Though in anticipation, I may say that the males 
are never allowed to see the females until they are put on 
shore. The children are with the women, in general; but 
are at times allowed to run at large all over the ship ; and 
merry little creatures they are, and soon pick up a number 
of English words. The first land we made was Cape Pal- 
raas. Still steering along the coast, keeping a good offing, 
until we passed Cape Three Points and Cape Coast Castle, 
we crossed the Bight of Benin, and made the land again, 
which is so low that you can scarce distinguish it from the 
water the tall palms resembling a large fleet of ships. 
The weather was so thick and hazy that we lay at the Bar 
five days before we could venture in the tides running so 
strong, at full moon, that it is with difficulty the boats can 
pull against it. Upon our getting up, we found about 
thirty sail of large ships, some of them fitted up for one 
thousand slaves, all (save a few completely slaved) waiting 
for cargoes, several with none on board, and others half-full. 
There was one sad momento of the unhealthiness of this 
vile place, which made a deep impression on me, thoughtless 
as I was. There was a beautiful French ship lying at 
anchor off the town, without one single person alive on 
board that had come out in her from Europe captain, 
doctor, and all had died ; and the agent had written to the 



owners to send out a new crew, either to complete the 
voyage or carry her back to France. This was a sad sight 
for us ; and we all heartily wished ourselves safe out of a 
place where never a day passed without two, three, or more 
European sailors being rowed on shore, from the ships, to 
be buried. I shall not wound your feelings by all the 
details of this disgusting traffic. We longed much for 
King Peppel, the sovereign of the place, to come on board, 
to break trade, as it is called ; for no native merchant dare 
either to buy or sell until he has got his ' dash,' or present, 
and made his selection of the goods that are on board, at 
the same time that he fixes the prices himself. At times, 
his Majesty is very backward, and a long time elapses 
before he comes on board for he is as cunning and 
political as any European statesman that ever penned a 
protocol ; but the captain, who had been often here before, 
knew well the customs of the place, and how to entice him 
quickly to his wishes. In the morning, after we were alJ 
prepared, he sent his boat to the town, under the command 
of the mate, who carried a private ' dash' for his Majesty, 
consisting of a blue uniform, all covered with gold lace, so 
stiff that it would scarcely fold. This had the desired 
effect ; for the answer was, that he would visit the Queen 
Charlotte next day and this was the ninth since our 
arrival. 

" In the morning all was again bustle, preparing for a 
sumptuous dinner for the King, in which there behoved 
not to be forgot a huge plum-pudding, and a roast pig, two 
dishes upon which depend the good or ill humour of hi? 
Majesty ; and the larger the fragments are, the better is his 
humour, as all that is not consumed at the time is taken 
ashore with him. It was necessary that everything of 
value should be carefully put out of sight ; for the moment 
it attracts the attention of the King, he will immediately 
ask for it, and never cease to importune until he has ob- 
tained it. There is no use in refusing, if you mean to trade ; 
and all you can do, is to make the best terms for yourself you 
can, on the principle of present for present. 

" About eleven o'clock, we heard from the shore a con- 
fused sound of drums and horns ; and, soon after, the royal 
canoe, formed of one single tree, put off in great state, with 
nearly one hundred men paddling her along, her colours 
flying, and about a dozen of musicians in her bow, some 
blowing upon antelopes' horns, others beating upon drums 
and other things, and the remainder chanting or singing 
in a voice as melodious as the horns and drums. His 
Majesty sat upon a platform, in an arm-chair, in the centre 
of the canoe, surrounded by his favourites, all of whom he 
invites to his feasts. They were dressed agreeably to 
their tastes his Majesty's uniform consisting of a cocked 
hat, a blue laced coat and red vest, with a shirt ruffled at 
breast and wrist-bands, and about six or seven yards of 
calico wrapped round his loins ; while his legs and feet 
were wrapped in flannel, as he was at this time suffering 
from goutf He appeared to be about fifty years of age, 
portly in his appearance, but extremely fat. When he 
was hoisted upon deck, his attendants carried him, chair 
and all, into the cabin, where they passed a jovial after- 
noon, and matters were arranged to the satisfaction of all 
parties. The King had seven puncheons of brandy, and 
other articles in the same proportion, for his dash ; which 
was immediately put on shore. 

11 Next forenoon, our decks were crowded by the native 
merchants, bargainingfoi the cargo, which was soon arranged, 
and the half of the value paid in advance a custom rendered 
necessary, from the traders not having the slaves in the town, 
but being obligod to go up the river to purchase them, at 
the new moon Thf? being in a few days, we had to wait 
patiently. On the night before they set out, the sound of 
drums and horns never ceased, while parties with lighted 
torches were to be seen all along the beach, down to the 



C8 



TALES OF THE BORDERS 



water's edge, placing offerings of fowls, manilla, and dried 
fish, upon stakes, for the use of their jew-jew or god, that 
he might give them a prosperous voyage. The object of 
their worship, is the guana, a creature having much the 
same appearance as the alligator, but smaller ; and so com- 
pletely domesticated, that they go out and into the huts at 
pleasure. Indeed, the natives build huts for them, where 
victuals are regularly placed every clay. 

" On the morning, they set off with their canoes loaded 
deep with goods, and well armed. Of the proceeds of this 
expedition, we only got twenty slaves, with assurance that 
our cargo would be completed next trip, as they had made 
arrangements up the country for more. Of those we 
received at this time, all had to get their hurts fomented 
and dressed, so much had they been injured, from the manner 
in which they had been secured by the traders ; and it was 
some days before they were completely recovered. The 
gyves we put on did not gall the ancles while they were 
secure; but their greatest inconvenience was that, on what- 
ever occasion one had to move, the companion of his chain 
had to accompany him. During our tedious stay, it was my 
duty often to go to King Peppel's town for water; and there 
I recollect well I met a handsome young female slave, who 
used to weep much, and importune me, in Negro English, to 
purchase and carry her to the West Indies with me. I was 
much surprised at this request, for the blacks are in general 
very averse to leave the country ; and having made inquiry 
into her history, found it to be most cruel. I never was so 
sorry for a slave as I was for that young creature. She 
had been taken captive at the surprisal and plunder of her 
native town her husband having escaped and, being 
heavy with child, had been delivered on her way to the coast, 
where she and her infant were shipped for the West Indies. 
In the voyage out, the captain having taken a fancy to her 
person, kept her in his cabin, and did not sell her, but 
brought her again to Bonny, where he had come for a new 
cargo. It so happened that her husband had, like herself, 
been reduced to slavery, and was brought on board the very 
ship in which she was. Her feelings may more easily be 
conceived than described. Neither flattery nor punishment 
could make her comply with the captain's wishes ; and he 
was so provoked, that he exchanged her for another slave 
with King Peppcl, who had passed his word never to sell her 
to any one of the European traders. Her husband and 
child were meanwhile carried away, and she was left be- 
hind, to linger out a life of hopeless grief. 

"Let me hasten to leave this horrible place. I could make 
your heart sick by relating a hundredth part of what I was 
forced to witness. As to what happened in our own ship, 
I cannot avoid. After next new moon, we received the re- 
mainder of our cargo four hundred slaves, male and female. 
The receiving them on board, is the most heart-breaking and 
disagreeable part of the whole of a slaving voyage. When 
they come first on board, extreme terror is expressed in 
every feature ; and their tears and groans while being put 
in irons few hearts can withstand, even though hardened by 
two or three voyages. This was my first and last ; I cursed 
my folly a thousand times, and would have rejoiced to have 
been a beggar in Scotland rather than where I was. The 
men are chained by the ancles, two and two, then placed 
within their own barricade ; so that husband and wife, 
sister and brother, may be in the same ship, and not know 
of it. When they come first on board, many of them re- 
fuse to eat or drink, rather choosing to die than live, and 
thinking we only wish them to feed, that they may become 
fat and fit for our eating a prejudice many of them firmly 
believe in, and founded on the notion that the whites are 
men-eaters, and purchase them to carry to market, like 
bullocks. While this feeling is in their mind, which is called 
the sulky fit, there is much trouble with them. The men 
remain silent and sullen, the women \veep and tremble. 



Arguments, could we speak the different tongues, would be 
of no avail the cat is the only remedy ; and that is ad- 
ministered until they comply. The sight of it, or a few 
strokes, in general, is sufficient for the females ; but many 
of the males will stand out a long time, and, during the 
flogging, never utter a groan snapping their fingers in the 
face of their tormentors, and crying, "0 Furrie! O Furrie!" 
(Never mind !) always a sure token of their despair and 
recklessness. We were very fortunate in getting our cargo 
so soon. AVe had two or three visits of King Peppel along- 
side, in his begging disguise and wished no more. His 
custom was to visit each ship, meanly dressed, and in a 
whining voice, equivalent to a demand, beseech an alms 
and he never begged in vain ; for the royal beggar always 
got a handsome present; and, indeed, the ultimate success 
of the voyage required this, in consequence of his unlimited 
power over his subjects. 

"Having got onboard the lime-juice and other necessaries 
all we required was the royal leave to depart ; and at length 
his Majesty came on board, in as great state as at first the 
same scene was acted over again his parting-present was 
little inferior to the former, the difference being, that this 
was called a farewell present, and was returned by a man- 
slave and two elephant's teeth. The price of a prime male 
slave was, at this time, in Bonny, equal to an elephants' 
tooth of sixty-five pounds weight, or one thousand billets 
of red wood nearly 10 of English money. 

" Next day we set sail for St Vincent, to our great joy, 
having lain here exactly six weeks and one day. Both the 
crew and the slaves began to grow very sickly. The duties 
of the crew were very severe, and, as disease prevailed, these 
became more and more disagreeable. As you seemjinterested, 
I will give you a faint unconnected sketch of the run ; but 
I would much rather pass it over, though the Queen 
Charlotte was remarked for her care and humanity to the 
slaves. To proceed : 

"Next morning, the negroes were forced upon deck; and 
the place where they had passed the night upon the bare 
boards, naked as they were born, was scrubbed with lime- 
juice until every stain was removed. When upon deck, 
chained by the ancles, two and two, a strict watch behoved to 
be kept over them, to prevent them from throwing them- 
selves overboard a remedy for their sufferings they are keen 
to resort to, for the first fortnight ; and, when the state 
of the weather would permit, the drum and fife being 
played, they were compelled to dance at least twice a-day, 
to make their blood circulate, and promote their health, 
At these times, there was such a clanking of chains and 
stamping upon the decks, you would have thought they 
would have been beaten to pieces by them ; and no wonder, 
when there were about two hundred lusty fellows, all in 
violent exercise at one time. At first the cat was forced 
to be employed ; but they are very fond of the drum, and 
soon call of themselves for " jiggery-jigg," as they term it ; 
will take tha instruments themselves, beat their own 
time in. their own way, and dance away in their own 
fashion. 

" We had four or five different nations on board. Of one 
nation we had only twenty ; and these we found were more 
than enough, from the trouble they gave us, forcing us 
to confine them by themselves, as all the other nations were 
afraid of them, and said they were men-eaters. These 
stood nearly six feet high, and stout in proportion ; their 
teeth were ground to a point, and fitted into each other 
like a rat-trap ; their nails were long and strong ; they were 
sullen and untractable, and of consequence often flogged to 
make them eat, at which times their looks, as they snapped 
their fingers in your face, and growled 'O Furrie !' to one an- 
other, were horrible. In vain, was all our care and atten- 
tion to them, and every indulgence consistent with the 
safety of the ship. They had each two glasses of brandy, 



i 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



and sometimes three, per day ; but some nations would not 
taste it, while others would drink as much as we would 
have given them. Those who did not take their allowance, 
would keep it in their bekka, (cocoa-nut shell ;) and when 
any of the crew did them any little service, they would wait 
an opportunity, and beckon as slily as possible, and give it 
to them. It was really beautiful to witness their kindness 
to each other of the same nation. If any of us gave one 
of them a piece of salt beef of which they were very fond, 
but of which they were allowed none, for fear of creating 
thirst he that got it, though it were no larger than my 
finger, would pull it, fibre by fibre, and divide it equally, 
making, with scrupulous accuracy, his own proportion no 
larger than any of the others ; while the man that gave it 
would get the grateful negro's day's allowance of liquor, for 
'it, when we went below to secure them for the night. Be- 
fore they were turned below, they were carefully searched, 
lest they had concealed a nail, or any bit of iron, in their bek- 
ka, or little bag, by which they might have been enabled to 
undo their chains; and in the mornings, their irons and berths 
were as carefully examined. But what availed our care 
and attention, where sickness and death reigned triumphant? 
Never a day passed but one or two were thrown overboard, 
some days three ; and, during our run to Saint Vincent, of 
six weeks, we lost, out of a cargo of four hundred, one hun- 
dred and twenty. Two of the crew also died, and I myself 
was given up for death by the captain ; but, contrary to his 
and my own expectation, I recovered rapidly. After I began 
to get convalescent, I had picked up a few of the poor 
creatures' words, and did my best, weak as I was, to relieve 
their wants, which were very urgent. The captain, from the 
first, when he observed my dislike to the service I had en- 
gaged in, and the pity expressed in my looks, told me to 
take it easy, for that I would soon get accustomed to it. 
But I never could. Their complaints and piteous moans 
ceased not, night nor day. Although they were, in the night, 
confined below, and the crew had slung their hammocks 
on deck, under a spare sail, or anywhere they thought they 
would be most out of the sounds, still their meanings dis- 
turbed our sleep. Vain was the threat, ' Nappy becca 
paum paum/ (Be quiet I will beat you,) and the cat shaken 
over them. ' Eerie eerie cucoo' (I am sick plenty) was 
the reply. 'Biea de biea' (I want the doctor) sounded 
from every part ; but ' Biea menie' (I want water) was the 
constant cry at all times yet we were liberal in our al- 
lowance, and constantly supplying them with it. 

" We gave them hot tea, when sick, made of pepper 
and boiled water, which they relished very much, crying 
often * Biea de biea ocko menie eerie eerie cucoo.' (I 
want the doctor and hot water I am very sick.) This 
would often be repeated from twenty voices at once, in 
their soft, plaintive manner of speaking, as they gathered 
confidence from the time they had been on board. As 
long as they were able to move, we forced them to the deck ; 
but we in general found them dead in the morning, when 
we went below to send them up. Often did the companion 
of the dead man's chain feign death, to be thrown over- 
board with him ; but the cat was always applied to test 
him, and he was kept alive against his will. All this 
happened oftenest within the first fortnight or three weeks ; 
for, by the fourth week, we had gained their confidence in 
a great measure, and their fears had worn off. The 
captain's custom was, when we found any one of them 
cheerful, and apparently easy in mind, to take off their 
chains, clothe them in a pair of trowsers and frock, and 
give them a charge over their fellows. Then they became 
proud, and stalked over the deck like admirals and none 
more ready with the cat than they. Thus we gained upon 
them fast the others envying those whom they saw 
dressed and trusted ; so that, before we reached the end of 
the voyage, they were all, except some indomitable spirits, 



clothed, and walking the deck. Though still strictly 
watched, we allowed some of them to go aloft ; and they 
soon became useful, more especially the boys, who, before 
they left the vessel, were, some of them, no despicable sea- 
men. When freed of their irons, and dressed, if they got 
the loan of a razor, or even a piece of broken bottle, they 
would shave, and cut their hair in their own fashion, and 
become, if possible, more vain and proud of their appear- 
ance. In the middle of this heart-rending misery, at least 
to me, there was one ray of light that enlivened the gloom 

" We had on board of us a son of Bonnyface, the prime 
minister or chief favourite of King Peppel. ' He had been 
intrusted to Captain Waugh, as a great favour, to take him 
to England for his education, and we were to take him out 
again next voyage. Billy Bonnyface acted on board like a 
ministering angel. He was a sweet boy, and of great 
service to the captain, in soothing and giving confidence to 
the slaves, and attending the sick. He felt most acutely 
for their distress, and was constantly pleading with the 
captain for some little comfort or other for them the tears 
streaming down his ebony face, in which the unsophisticated 
workings of his young mind were more moving than his 
words. All looked upon him as a friend, while by those 
whose language he spoke he was almost adored. All the 
crew, too, loved him ; for to every one of them he had 
rendered some little service, by interceding for them with 
the captain, over whom his influence was great. A smarter 
or more active boy I never saw ; he spoke English, for a 
negro, very well, and took great delight in teaching the 
black boy-slaves, who learned amazingly fast. I know not 
how it was, but little Billy loved me more than any other 
of the crew, and I can safely say there was no love lost. 
When he had a moment at leisure he was ever with me. 
You can judge by my looks if there was anything comely 
in them ; yet the dear boy often hung round my neck and 
kissed me, while I held him to my bosom, and he called 
me Dad Robion." 

Here the worthy captain paused, as if from extreme 
emotion. I felt as if I could have wept myself. He 
hastily resumed 

" I am an old fool. I shall go on, if I don't sicken you 
with my gossip." 

" Proceed," I said " in charity, proceed." 

" I thank you," he replied. '' Till now I had almost 
persuaded myself that no one cared for what I said, but 
Billy." And here he rung the bell, and the negro entered. 
" Billy," said he, " it wears late ; bring an extra glass, and 
take your wonted seat." 

"Tank you, massa," said the negro; "rather sit wit Mary. 
Picaninny no sleep yet." 

" Well, Billy, as you please," he said, and resumed. 

" On proceeding to the southward, we got becalmed 
eleven days in 2 east longitude. After a few days lying 
logging and motionless upon the water, despondency began 
to take possession of our minds ; our water and provisions 
were wearing fast away, and the slaves dying fast, three 
and four being often thrown overboard at once. The most 
gloomy and fearful ideas began to occupy our minds death 
stared us in the face, and we were utterly powerless. On 
the tenth day, the men began to gather together in parties, 
and whisper what they feared to speak aloud. They 
looked with an evil eye upon our chief mate, who was 
both feared and hated; to the crew he was tyrannical, 
but to the slaves he was cruel in the extreme ; and 
little Billy avoided him as if he had been a fiend. _ He 
was, indeed, a hardened slaver of many years' standing ; 
but the circumstance that would have sealed his doom 
was, that, on his last voyage to the coast, the ship 
he was in had been becalmed in the same latitude for 
twenty weeks ; the captain, doctor, and all on boar 
perished, except himself, two boys, and two of the slaves. 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



out of forty-six Europeans and four hundred slaves, 
which they left the coast with. This was a subject; he 
never wished to hear mentioned, and did all in his power 
to avoid being spoken to about ; but he and I being on 
the best of terms, in consequence of my having laid him 
under deep obligation to me at Bonny, he yielded to my 
request, and gave me the following details : 

" ' We left the coast of Africa all well/ he said ; ' in 
better health than common, and in high spirits. Nothing 
particular happened until we were about the place where 
we now are, when we had, first, variable winds for some 
days; then all at once it fell a dead calm, and our sails 
hung loose upon our masts. We felt no uneasiness at 
first, as such things are usual in these latitudes; and 
we only regretted the loss we were sustaining in our cargo, 
who had become very sickly, and were dying fast. Thus 
three weeks passed on, and despair began to steal upon us 
our provisions and water began to threaten a short-coming, 
and it was now agreed to shorten our allowance of both, 
until a breeze sprung up. Our crew were listlessly loiter- 
ing about the deck, and adding to the horrors of our situ- 
ation by relating dismal stories which they had heard of 
vessels becalmed in these latitudes ; and their spirits sank 
still lower and lower. Thus, week followed week, and no 
relief came our despondency deepened more than one- 
half of our slaves were already dead ; and, by the fourteenth 
week, our water was almost spent, when it was debated 
by the crew whether we should not force the remainder 
of the slaves overboard. We were reduced to perfect 
skeletons by anxiety and want ; and the slaves were much 
worse off than even we. "When the result of the council 
was made known to the captain and mate, they gave a de- 
cided refusal, and armed themselves, threatening to shoot 
the first man who would again propose it; and it was again 
agreed to shorten yet farther our scanty allowance of water. 
On the sixteenth week, the Europeans began to die as fast 
as the slaves, who were now reduced to one hundred and 
four, the cre\v to thirty-six. Our sufferings were terrible. 
Our thirst parched and shrivelled up our throats. So 
listless were we, that the slaves were now allowed to be 
at large, and many of them leaped overboard, yelling fear- 
fully as they splashed in the water, we not caring to pre- 
vent them, but rather wishing that they might all immolate 
themselves in the same way. We scarcely ever slept when 
we lay down; our torments were so great that we would 
start up in a state of stupefaction, and wander over the 
deck like ghosts, until we sank down again, exhausted. 
The eyes of all were dim, some glaring bloodshot, red as 
raw beef. Several of the crew leaped overboard in a state 
of wild derangement ; others would be walking or convers- 
ing in their usual way, and suddenly drop down dead, expir- 
ing without a groan. Thus did we linger out eighteen 
weeks, when the captain took to his cabin, and died through 
the night. Death's progress was fearful until the end of 
the nineteenth week, when all that remained alive out of 
such a number, were, of the Europeans, only myself and 
two boys, who kept up better than the men, and two 
young slaves. But by this time there was no distinction 
between black and white : we lay, side by side, looking 
over the bulwarks of the vessel upon the glassy expanse 
of water ; then to our sails that hung upon our masts like 
sere-cloths ; then at each other and our hearts felt as if 
they had ceased to beat. The heat was intolerable. We 
had only half a barrel of water on board, and such water as 
none ashore would have allowed to remain in their house ; 
it was putrid, yet we were grieved at the smallness of the 
quantity ; for in our present condition it was more nrecious 
than gold or diamonds, and was to us most sweet There 
was still as little appearance of a wind springing up as on 
the first day of the calm. I was thus in possession of the 
vessel, without the means of working her, should a breeze 



spring Tip. The fear of this ran.de me enlarge the allowance 
of water to the two slaves and boys, as on their lives my 
only chance of escape depended ; for, were they to die, I 
must, like all my fellows, also die in the calm, or become the 
sport of the winds and waves, when this appalling stillness 
in nature should cease to chain me to this fatal spot. How 
could I express what we felt when we first beheld the ripple 
upon the distant waters, as the long-looked for wind came 
gently along ! We stretched out our arms, we wept like 
children, and the burning drops smarted upon our chopped 
and blistered faces the breeze reached our decks, we 
felt as if our thirst had fled and we were bathed in pure 
water, so balmy did it feel. The sails that had hung loose 
upon the yards for twenty weeks began to fill. The vessel 
moved through the water ; I stood at the helm ; and we 
soon left this fatal latitude far behind. I never left the 
deck until we arrived at Barbadoes. When overcome by 
sleep, one of the boys steered by the directions I gave, until 
I awoke again, and took the helm ; and when the pilot 
came on board, as we neared the island, we had not one 
gill of water in the ship.' 

" My heart sank within me," continued the Captain, <f at 
this recital. We were in the same place, and had every pros- 
pect of sharing a similar fate. We were on short allowance 
of water ; and it is the remembrance of these few fearful 
days that, as I walk alone, will at times even yet come 
over my mind, and, while their horror is upon me, vivid as 
it was at the time, if I see water recklessly wasted, I feel 
angry, until the illusion has fled, and then I bless God that 
I am in the middle of green fields, and not that watery 
waste that glowed like a furnace from the intense rays of the 
sun, and where nothing met the anxious gaze of the sufferer 
but an expanse of water and sky, both equally bright and 
unvaried, without cloud in the one or swell in the other, 
all still as death, save any noise in the vessel, which, if 
ever so small, was, at this time, fearfully acute to our ears. 
On the afternoon of the eleventh day, fortunately for the 
mate, and equally so for us all, a breeze came rustling 
along the waters, our sails filled, and we glided along with 
joyful hearts. Great was the deliverance to us all, but 
greatest to that threatened victim ; for, had we continued 
many days in the same situation, the ship's crew would have 
made a Jonah of him and thrown him overboard, as the 
man himself did not hesitate to say our bad fortune was 
solely on his account. 

" On our arrival at St Vincent, the slaves became very 
dull and low-spirited, especially when they saw from our 
decks the gangs of negroes at work in the fields, as we passed 
up along the shores of the islands. We were now all busy 
preparing them for the market that is, giving them frocks 
and trowsers, and making them clean ; while the captain 
sent on shore for the black decoys, to raise their spirits and 
give them confidence. These decoys are black women, 
who are some of them free, and others slaves. They make 
a trade of it, and are well paid ; the money, if they are 
free, being their own if slaves, their masters receive it. 
They come on board gaily dressed, covered with tinsel and 
loaded with baubles, of which they have a great many to 
give away to the slaves. As soon as they come on board, 
under pretence of looking for relations or former friends, 
(the decoys are of all the different nations that come 
from the coast,) they address each in their own tongue ; 
tell them a number of cock-and-bull stories ; point to them- 
selves ; profess all manner of joy to see them in this land 
of wealth and happiness, where they will soon be as gay 
and happy as they are ; and, to shew their riches and 
friendship for them, distribute the baubles among them 
before *hey leave the vessel. This has all the desired 
effect The poor creatures immediately become full of 
spirits, and anxious to get on shore. The business of the 
voyage was now accomplished ; for they were all sold by the 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



agents on shore, and we knew no more of them. As soon as 
the ship was cleared of the slaves, the carpenters com- 
menced to take down the barricades, and we to prepare for 
returning home, taking in water for ballast. I had no 
\vish to return to Britain at this time, as berths were so 
difficult to be had when I left home, and I told Captain 
Waugh so ; but he refused to let me leave the vessel, for 
he had not many good seamen in his crew ; and I having 
signed the articles for the, whole voyage, did not choose 
to forfeit my wages thus dearly won so I at once made up 
my mind to return, and thought no more of it. We re- 
mained here for seven weeks before the captain got all his 
business settled, during which time I would have wearied 
very much, had it not been for little Billy, who was seldom 
from my side. As I went very little ashore, he pre- 
ferred staying with me to going even with the captain, 
w ho was as well pleased at the choice, as his sole object 
was to be well spoken of by the boy to his father when they 
returned to the coast, that he might have the favour of 
old Bonnyface, who was King Peppel's chief minister, 
and had greater influence with him than any of his other 
favourites. 

" Billy himself was one of the sweetest tempered and 
smartest boys of his age, I ever saw, yet irascible to mad- 
ness at the least affront from any one ; for his nature had 
never been subject to the least training, and his passions 
were under no control. His countenance was the true index 
of his heart ; and if any of the men intentionally gave him 
offence, his large black eyes would flash in an instant, he 
would spring at them like a tiger, to tear them with his 
teeth, and it would be some time before we could get him 
appeased ; but, when the rage died away, he would think 
no more of it, nor would he complain to the captain, as he 
knew that the man would have been punished. However, 
it was only when some of the crew returned on board the 
worse of liquor, that they ever meddled with him; for other- 
wise, there was not a man in the ship, but would have as soon 
thought of leaping overboard, as giving him the slightest 
offence. 

" Billy began to weary to get under way as much as my- 
self ; and when I asked him why he was so anxious to get 
to Britain, he replied, simply 

" ' I much want to make book speak ! You make book 
speak, Dad Robion, and all white man make book speak ! 
Dat gives much power, dat make big man so me wish to 
make book speak.' 

" ' I am happy,' I said, ' to hear you say so. Will you 
learn if I teach you, Billy, while we lie here ? It will be 
so far good for you that you will not have to begin when 
ve reach Bristol.' 

" ' You make my heart glad,' he replied. ' You teacha 
me me all heart, me all attention, me never tink but what 
you say.' And he threw his arms round my neck. 

" I was much affected, and seriously thought about what 
I had undertaken ; for there were many difficulties to sur- 
mount the greatest of which, was the want of a proper 
book to begin with. There was not such a thing on board ; 
so I got from the carpenter a smooth board, and formed 
the letters, telling him their names, and giving them to 
him to form after me. This he took the utmost delight in, 
and learned amazingly fast, for he was ever at his board; 
and, before we left the island, he knew words of one and 
two syllables in my book of navigation, the only one I 
had, save my pocket Bible, which he took great delight 
to hear me read putting occasionally such puzzling ques- 
tions to me as made me blush. When I told him it was 
the book of the white man's religion, he used to shake his 
head, and say 

" ' Me no tink dat ; for white man swear, white man 
steal, he drink over too much, he do what book say no : 
how dat ?', 



" I felt it quite impossible, from what he saw in our own 
crew, and what he had seen of the other white men at 
Bonuy, to make him believe that white men had any rule 
of conduct but their own inclinations and avarice. I 
sighed, and gave up the task ; for what is instruction or 
precept to an ingenuous mind, without example ; and our 
profession is belied by too many around, who acknowledge 
and claim the faith as theirs by word, and yet give it the 
lie by their actions. At length we sailed, and reached 
King's Road, on the 1st of January 1789. 

" I was so fortunate as get a berth, as mate, on board a 
West Indiaman, which was taking her cargo on board. 
Billy was, meanwhile, put to school, and I saw him every 
evening, at his request, and by Captain Waugh's leave. 
When he heard I was going to leave Bristol, and not to go 
back to the coast in the Queen Charlotte again, he wept, 
and importuned me, in the most moving terms, to go to 
Bonny with him, where he would cause his father to give 
me as many slaves as I pleased, and he would send his 
own people to get them for me. I was vexed to part with 
him, and did what I could to soothe him before my de- 
parture ; but still I left him disconsolate. I once more 
left Bristol in the beginning of February, and had a fine 
run to Jamaica, where I left the vessel, with the consent 
of my captain, having made an exchange with a lad belong- 
ing to Bristol, who was mate in an American trader, and 
wished to get home, as he did not keep his health well in 
these climates; and, as he was an acquaintance of the 
captain's, all parties were agreeable. 1 now continued 
for several years in the carrying trade between the differ- 
ent islands and the continent of America, saved money very 
fast, purchased a share of a large brig, and sailed her suc- 
cessfully as captain. The war was now raging between 
Britain and the French Republic ; but it did not affect my 
prosperity, for, being now a naturalized American, my ship 
and papers were a passport to me, and I sailed unmolested 
by the fleets and privateers of both nations. But my heart 
was British, and I rejoiced in the superiority she held at 
sea, as if I had been in the British service, and fighting 
for my country. For ten years everything had prospered 
with me. I thought myself rich for I never was avaricious 
and had some thoughts of returning to Edinburgh, when 
the failure of a mercantile house in Charlestons reduced 
me once more to a couple of thousand dollars. There was 
no use of fretting. I had all to do over again, and to it I 
set. ' I am yet not an old man, and, if I am spared, (a few 
years are neither here nor there,) I will be content with 
less this bout so here goes.' I made over my claim upon 
the bankrupts to the other creditors, for a small sloop that 
had belonged to them and began the coasting trade again. I 
sold my sloop soon after, bought a brig, and took a trip in 
her to Kingston in Jamaica when, what was my grief and 
surprise, to see, in the first lighter that came alongside the 
vessel, my old friend Billy ! I could at first scarcely be- 
lieve my eyes ; I thought I knew the face, but could not 
call to my recollection where I had seen it, yet I felt I had 
known it by more than a casual meeting. I was at this time 
sitting at my cabin window ; I saw that the person who 
had attracted my attention so much, was a slave ; and 
allowed the circumstance to pass out of my mind for the time, 
as I was busy with some papers, and had only been attracted 
by the sound of the oars as they passed under the stern of 
the vessel. On the second trip of the lighter, I was on 
deck, and the same individual was there. I caught again 
his eye, and, as I gazed upon him, he uttered a cry of sur- 
prise, stretched forth his arms for a second, then shook his 
head sorrowfully, and sunk it upon his bosom, as if in de- 
spondency. That it was Billy, I had not now the most 
distant doubt ; my heart leaped to embrace him, slave as he 
was. But how he had come into his present situation I could 
not conceive. I requested the black who had charge of 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



the Double Moses, (tlie name of the craft,) to send Billy 
upon deck ; and, as soon as he reached it, I held out my 
hand to him. I believe my eyes were not dry ; his were 
pouring a flood of tears upon my hand, which he kissed again 
and again. The crew and others looked on in amazement. 
The captain of a brig shaking hands with a black slave ! 
Such an occurrence they had never witnessed ; for my crew 
were native Americans, and looked upon negroes as an 
inferior race of men. He was now a stout young man, but 
rather thin and dejected ; he was naked, save a pair of old 
trowsers, and his shoulders and back bore the scars of many 
old and recent stripes. His former vivacity was now no- 
where to be traced in his melancholy countenance the 
independence of his former manner had all forsaken him 
he was, in truth, a broken-in-spirit and crushed slave. I 
resolved at once to purchase his liberty, if within my power, 
and told him so, when he fell at my feet, wept, and kissed 
my shoes before I could lift him up. He had not, as yet, 
opened his lips his heart was too full, emotion shook his 
frame ; and, to ease the feelings that seemed like to choke 
him, I went from the cabin to the state-room, leaving him 
alone, while I sought out a jacket and light vest, for him. 
I staid longer than was necessary to give him time to re- 
cover. It is ever engraven upon my heart, that look of 
gratitude he gave me. His attempt to speak was still a 
vain effort. He was another man's slave, and liable to 
punishment. I requested him to go away to his duty, and 
not tell any one what I meant to do, lest his master should 
ask an exorbitant sum, if he thought I was resolved to 
purchase at any price. So he went into the Moses, and 
pulled ashore ; but kept his gaze constantly on me. 

" As soon as my business would permit, I went on shore 
before sun-down, to make inquiries about his purchase from 
his present master, and was pleased to find that he was the 
property of the merchant to whom my cargo was consigned. 
I told him at once frankly off hand, that I wished to pur- 
chase a slave of his, to whom I had taken a fancy. He re- 
plied, I was welcome to any of them at a fair valuation, 
and then called his overseer for he himself cared little 
about his slaves, hardly knowing them by sight and in- 
quired if I knew his name. I told him the one I meant was 
called Billy, and described him. The overseer at once 
knew whom I meant, and said I would be welcome to him 
at cost, for he was a stubborn, sulky dog, and gave him 
much trouble, and, besides, was getting rather sickly ; so 
that, if I chose, I might have him for two hundred dollars. 
I at once agreed, and, after supper, went on board, happy 
that I had succeeded so well ; for Billy was to be handed 
over to me in the forenoon, as soon as the notary had made 
out the transfer. At length he came on board, joy beam- 
ing in every feature ; but so much had his noble spirit been 
crushed and broken, that he still felt his inferiority, and 
stood at an humble distance. He had been taught the 
severe lesson of what it was to be a slave. When I met 
him first, all he knew of the white man was the most 
humble submission to King Peppel and his father's humours. 
Their word was law to them at Bonny how great the con- 
trast to him here ! He was insulted, despised, and tortured 
by the lash, by those very whites he had been taught, 
when a child, to look upon as scarcely his equals. Had he 
been even a prince in the interior, his bondage to the whites 
would not have been half so galling. I beckoned him to 
follow me to the cabin, where I got from him an account of 
his adventures since I had left him in Bristol. 

lt The captain left him at school on his next voyage to 
the coast, and did not take him out until the second year, 
when Billy could read English well, and had learned to 
cipher and write a tolerable hand. On being delivered 
safe to his father, the prime minister was proud of his 
accomplishments. Captain Waugh was most liberally re- 
warded ; King Peppel was glad to have one about him, 



who could make ' book speak.' Billy had every appearance 
of rising into great favour ; but, poor fellow, the accomplish- 
ments his father was so proud of, proved the ruin of them 
both, and of all their family. In King Peppel's court there 
was as much ambition, intrigue, and rivalry, as in the most 
civilised in Europe ; nor were the political plotters less scrupu- 
lous in the means they used to overturn the influence of a 
rival. They first began to hint, in an indirect manner, that 
Bonnyface had sent his son to the white man's land, to 
learn obi, and write ' feteche' or charms. The King, for 
some time, only laughed at them; but their endless inuendoes 
gradually began to poison his mind ; and, while he became 
cool and more cool in his manner, the secret enemies had 
bribed the priests, or ' feteche' men, who also envied Billy 
his accomplishments, and they openly declared that it was 
not good to have white man's ' feteche' in the black man's 
country. Old Bonnyface saw the storm gradually thicken 
around him, without the means of averting it ; but this tor- 
turing state of uncertainty came to a close. The King, who 
had been ailing for some time, and applying to the surgeons of 
the slave ships without much relief, was advised to try the 
physicians of his own country. These were the priests and 
feteche men ; and this was the opportunity so long desired 
by the enemies of Billy's family. It was declared by all 
that there was a white man's ' feteche' upon him, and they 
could not remove it ; but gave no opinions as to who it was 
that had put it on the King. It could be none of the 
white men in the river, for they all were his friends for 
trade; and then they paused, and shook their heads, received 
their presents, and retired. No one gave the least surmise 
to the King who was the charmer ; for this had been done 
months before. All that had been hinted of Bonnyface and 
Billy going to Britain rushed upon the King's mind, aggra- 
vated by fear. Next day saw Bonnyface's head struck 
off, to break the ' feteche ;' and the interesting Billy, and all 
the members of the family, were sold, for slaves to the 
Europeans, their wealth confiscated to the King, and a 
part of it bestowed upon those who had wrought their ruin. 
I brought Billy home with me and here ends my narra- 
tive, at least for this evening." 

It being now rather late, I bade the Captain good night, 
and called again in the morning, after breakfast, when I 
found that the mother and babe were quite restored. Upon 
inquiry, we learned that the name of her husband was 
William Robertson. As the day was remarkably fine, I 
walked with the captain to the reading-room, and found 
that the Czar had arrived at Leith the day before. We 
took the stage, and rode down, and soon had the pleasure 
to see the husband of the Captain's guest. When they met, 
the Captain seemed much affected at sight of him, and, in 
an agitated manner, inquired of what part of Scotland he 
was a native. He said he was born in the Grassmarket of 
Edinburgh ; and, upon further inquiry, we found that he 
was the Captain's cousin, the son of his uncle, who had 
married after his bankruptcy, and died, leaving his son des- 
titute, who, from necessity, had gone to sea. To conclude, 
AVilliam Robertson came home to Morningside with us, a 
happy man. His wife and child resided with the Captain 
until his death, and that of Billy, who did not survive him 
many months. The cousin sailed his own vessel out of 
Greenock, and that was the last account I had from him. 




WILSON'S 

, arraWtfanarg, anti 



TALES OF THE BORDERS, 



AND OF SCOTLAND. 



THOMAS OF CHARTRES. 

ONE morning, early in the spring of 1298, a small Scottish 
vessel lay becalmed in the middle of the Irish Channel, 
about fifteen leagues to the south of the Isle of Man. 
During the whole of the previous night, she had been borne 
steadily southward, by a light breeze from off the fast re- 
ceding island ; but it had sunk as the sun rose, and she 
was now heaving slowly to the swell, which still continued 
to roll onward, in long glassy ridges, from the north. A 
thick fog had risen as the wind fell one of those low sea 
fogs which, leaving the central heavens comparatively 
clear, hangs its dense, impervious volumes around the hor- 
izon ; and the little vessel lay as if imprisoned within a 
circular wall of darkness, while the sun, reddened by the 
haze, looked down cheerily upon her from above. She 
was a small and very rude-looking vessel, furnished with 
two lug-sails of dark brown, much in the manner of a 
modern Dutch lugger ; with a poop and forecastle singularly 
high, compared with her height in the waist ; and with 
sides which, attaining their full breadth scarcely a foot 
over the water, sloped abruptly inwards, towards the deck, 
like the wall of a mole or pier. The parapet-like bul- 
warks of both poop and forecastle, were cut into deep em- 
brasures, and ran, like those of a tower, all around the 
areas they enclosed, looking down nearly as loftily on 
the midships as on the water. The sides were black as 
pitch could render them the sails scarcely less dark ; but, 
as if to shew man's love of the ornamental in even the 
rudest stage of art, a huge misshapen lion flared in 
vermilion on the prow, and over the stern hung the blue 
flag of Scotland, with the silver cross of St Andrew 
stretching from corner to corner. 

From eight to ten seamen lounged about the decks. 
They were uncouth-looking men, heavily attired in jerkins 
and caps of blue woollen, with long, thick beards, and 
strongly-marked features. The master, a man considerably 
advanced in life for, though his eye seemed bright as ever, 
his hair and beard had become white as snow was rather 
better dressed. He wore above his jerkin a short cloak of 
blue, which confessed, in its finer texture, the superiority 
of the looms of Flanders over those of his own country ; 
and a slender cord of silver ran round a cap of the same 
material. His nether garments, however, were coarse and 
rude as those of his seamen ; and the shoes he wore were 
fashioned, like theirs, of the undressed skin of the deer, 
with the hair still attached ; giving to the foot that brush- 
like appearance which had acquired to his countrymen of 
the age, from their more polished neighbours, the appel- 
lation of rough-footed Scots. Neither the number, nor the 
appearance of the crew, singular and wild as the latter 
was, gave the vessel aught of a warlike aspect ; and yet 
there were appearances that might have led one to doubt 
whether she was quite so unprepared for attack or defence 
as at the first view might be premised. There ran round 
the but of each mast a rack filled with spears, of more 
knightly appearance than could have belonged to a few 
rude seamen for of some of these the handles were 
chased with silver, and to some there were strips of pennon 
166. VOL. IV. 



attached ; and a rich crimson cloak, with several pieces of 
mail, were spread out to the morning sun, on one of the 
shrouds. 

The crew, we have said, were lounging about the deck, 
unemployed in the calm, when a strong, iron-studded door 
opened in the poop, and a young and very handsome man 
stepped forward. 

" Has my unfortunate cloak escaped stain ?" he said to 
the master. " Your sea-water is no brightener of colour." 
" It will not yet much ashame you, Clelland," said the 
master, " even amid the gallants of France ; but, were it 
worse, there is little fear, with these eyes of yours, of 
being overlooked by the ladies." 

" Nay, now, Brichan, that's but a light compliment from 
so grave a man as you," said Clelland. " You forget how 
small a chance I shall have beside my cousin." 

" Not jealous of the Governor, Clelland, I hope ?" said 
the old man, gaily. " Nay, trust me, you are in little 
danger. Sir William is perhaps quite as handsome a man 
as you, and taller by the head and shoulders ; but, trust 
me, no one will ever think of him as a pretty fellow. He 
stands too much alone for that. Has he risen yet ?" 

" Risen ! he has been with the chaplain for I know 
not how long. Their Latin broke in upon my dreams 
two hours ago. But what have we yonder, on the edge 
of that bank of fog ? Is it one of the mermaidens you were 
telling me of yesterday ?" 

" Nay," said the master, tl it is but a poor seal, risen to 
take the air. But what have we beyond it ? By Heavens, 
I see the dim outline of a large vessel, through the fog ! 
and yonder, not half a bow-sh<5t beyond, there is another ! 
Saints forbode that it be not the English fleet, or the 
ships of Thomas of Chartres ! Clelland, good Clelland, 
do call up the Governor and his company ?" 

Clelland stepped up to the door in the poop, and shouted 
hastily to his companions within "Strange sails in sight! 
supposed enemies it were well to don your armours." 
And then turning to a seaman, " Assist me, good fellow," 
he said, " in bracing on mine." 

"Thomas of Chartres, to a certainty!" exclaimed the 
master ' f and not a breath to bear us away! Would to 
Heavens that I were dead and buried, or had never been 
born !" 

" Why all this ado, Brichan ?" said Clelland, who, as- 
sisted by the sailor, was coolly buckling on his mail. " It 
was never your wont before, to be thus annoyed by 
danger." 

" It is not for myself I fear, noble Clelland," said the 
master, " if the Governor were but away and safe. But, 
oh, to think that the pride and stay of Scotland should 
fall into the merciless hands of a pirate dog ! Would that 
my own life, and the lives of all my crew, could but pur- 
chase his safety !" 

"Take heart, old man," said Clelland, with dignity. 
" Heaven watches over the fortunes of the Governor of 
Scotland ; nor will it suffer him to fall obscurely by the 
hands of a mere plunderer of merchants and seamen. 
Rax me my long spear." 

As he spoke, the Governor himself stepped forward from 
the door in the poop, enveloped from head to foot in com-. 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



plete armour. He was a man of more than kingly presence- 
taller, by nearly a foot, than even the tallest man on deck, 
and broader across the shoulders by full six inches ; but 
so admirably was his frame moulded that, though his stature 
rose to the gigantic, no one could think of him as a giant. 
His visor was up, and exhibited a set of high handsome 
features, and two of the finest blue eyes that ever served 
as indexes to the feelings of a human soul. His chin and 
upper lip were thickly covered with hair of that golden 
colour so often sung by the elder poets ; and a few curling 
locks of rather darker shade escaped from under his helmet. 
A man of middle stature and grave saturnine aspect, who 
wore a monk's frock over a coat of mail, came up behind 
him. 

" What is to befall us now, cousin Clelland ?" said the 
Governor. <e Does not the truce extend over the Channel, 
think you ?" 

" Ah, these are not English enemies, noble sir," replied 
the master. " We have fallen on the fleet of the infamous 
Thomas of Chartres." 

" And who is Thomas of Chartres ?" asked the Governor. 
" A cruel and blood-thirsty pirate the terror of these 
seas for the last sixteen years. Wo is me ! we have 
neither force enough to fight, nor wind to bear us away I" 

" Two large vessels," said the Governor, stepping up to 
the side, " full of armed men, too ; but we muster fifty, 
besides the sailors ; and, if they attempt boarding us, it 
must be by boat. Is it not so, master ? The calm which 
fixes us here, must prevent them from laying alongside 
and overmastering us." 

" Ah, yes, noble sir," said the master ; " but we see only 
a part of the fleet." 

" Were there ten fleets," exclaimed Clelland, impatiently, 
" I have met with as great odds ashore and here comes 
Crawford." 

The door in the poop was again thrown open, and from 
forty to fifty warriors, in complete armour, headed by a tall 
and powerful-looking man, came crowding out, and then 
thronged around the masts, to disengage their spears. They 
were all robust and hardy-looking men the flower, ap- 
parently, of a country-side; and the coolness and promptitude 
with which they ranged themselves round their leader, to 
wait his commands, shewed that it was not now for the 
first time they had been called on to prepare for battle. 
They were, in truth, tried veterans of the long and bloody 
struggle which their country had maintained with Edward 
men who, ere they had united under a leader worthy to 
command them, had resisted the enemy individually, and 
preserved, amid their woods and fastnesses, at least their 
personal independence. Such a party of such men, how- 
ever great the odds opposed to them, could not, in any 
Circumstances, be deemed other than formidable. 

" We are not born for peace, countrymen," said the 
Governor "war follows us even here. Meanwhile, lie 
down, that the enemy mark not our numbers. That fore- 
most vessel is lowering her boat, and yonder tall man in scar- 
let, who takes his seat in the bows, seems to be a leader." 

"It is Thomas of Chartres, himself," said the master. 
"I know him well. Some five-and-twenty years ago, we 
sailed together from Palestine." 

" And what," asked the Governor, " could have brought 
a false pirate there ?" 

" He was no false pirate then," replied the master, lt but 
a true Christian knight ; and bravely did he fight for the 
sepulchre. But, on his return to France, where he had 
been pledged to meet with his lady-love, he fell under the 
displeasure of the King, his master ; and, ever since, he has 
been a wanderer and a pirate. You will see, as he ap- 
proaches, the scallop in his basnet ; and be sure he will be 
the first man to board us." 

" Excellent," exclaimed the Governor, gaily ; " we shall 



hold him hostage for the good behaviour of his fleet. Mark 
me, cousin Crawford. His barge shoves off, and the men 
bend to their oars. He will be here in a twinkling. Do 
you stand by our good Ancient would there were but 
wind enough to unfurl it ! and the instant he bids us 
strike, why, lower it to the deck ; but be as sure you hoist 
it again when you see him fairly aboard. And you, clear 
Clelland, do you take your stand here on the deck beside 
me, and see to it, when I am dealing with the pirate, that 
you keep your long spear between us and his crew. It 
will be strange if he boast of his victory this bout." 

The men, at the command of their leader, had prostrated 
themselves on the deck, while his two brethren in arms, 
Crawford and Clelland, stationed themselves at his bidding 
the one on the vessel's poop, directly under the pennon, the 
other at his side in the midships. The pirate's barge, glit- 
tering to the sun with arms and armour, and crowded with 
men, rowed lustily towards them ; but, while yet a full hun- 
dred yards away, a sudden breeze from the west began to 
murmur through the shrouds, and the bellying sails swelled 
slowly over the side. 

" Heaven's mercy be praised 1 !* exclaimed the master, 
" we shall escape them yet. Lay her easy to the wind, good 
Crawford lay her easy to the wind, and we shall bear out 
through them all." 

" Nay, cousin, nay," said the Governor, his eyes flashing 
with eagerness, " the pirate must not escape us so. Lay the 
vessel too. Turn her head full to the wind. And you, 
captain, draw off your men to the hold. We must not 
lose our good sailors ; and these woollens of yours will 
scarcely turn a French arrow. Nay, 'tis I who am master 
now" for the old man seemed disposed to linger. " I 
may resign my charge, perhaps, by and by ; but you must 
obey me now." 

The master and his sailors left the deck. The barge of 
the pirate came sweeping onward till within two spears' 
length of the vessel, and then hailed her with no courtly 
summons of surrender. " Strike, dogs, strike ! or you shall 
fare the worse !" It was the pirate himself who spoke, 
and Crawford, at his bidding, pulled down the Ancient. 
The barge dashed alongside. Thomas of Chartres, a very 
tall and very powerful man, seized hold of the bulwark 
rail with one hand, and, bearing a naked sword in the 
other, leaped fearlessly aboard, Avithin half-a-yard of where 
the Governor stood, half concealed by the shrouds and the 
bulwarks. In a moment the sword was struck down, and 
the intruder locked in the tremendous grasp of the first 
champion of his time. Crawford hoisted the Ancient, yard- 
high, to the new-risen breeze ; while Clelland struck his 
long spear against the pirate who had leaped on the gun- 
wale to follow his leader, with such hearty good will that 
the steel passed through targe and corslet, and he fell back 
a dead man into the boat. In an instant the concealed 
party had sprung from the deck, and fifty Scottish spears 
bristled over the gunwale, interposing their impenetrable 
hedge between the pirate crew and their leader. For a 
moment, the latter had striven to move his antagonist ; but, 
powerful and sinewy as he was, he might as well have 
attempted to uproot an oak of an hundred summers. 
While yet every muscle was strained in the exertion, the 
Governor swung him from off his feet, suspended him at 
arm's length for half a moment in the air, and then dashed 
him violently against the deck. A stream of blood gushed 
from mouth and nostril, and he lay stunned and senseless 
where he fell. Meanwhile, the crew of the barge, taken 
by surprise, and outnumbered, shoved off a boat's length 
beyond reach of the spears, and then rested on their oars. 

" He revives," said the warrior in the monk's frock, 
going up to the fallen pirate. " Reiver though he be, he 
has fought for the holy sepulchre, and has worn golden 
spurs." 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



" I will deal with Mm right knightly/ said the Governor. 
" Yield thee, Sir Thomas of Chartres," he continued, bend- 
ing over the prisoner, and holding up a dagger to his face 
" yield thee true hostage for the good conduct of thy fleet 
or shall I call the confessor ?" 

" I yield me true hostage," said the fallen man. " But 
who art thou, terrible warrior, that o'ermasterest De Lon- 
goville of France as if he were a stripling of twelve 
summers ? Art Wallace, the Scottish champion ?" 

" Thou yieldest, De Longoville," said the Governor, " to 
Sir "William Wallace of Elderslie. But how is it that I 
meet, in the infamous Thomas of Chartres, that true soldier 
of the Cross, De Longoville ? I have heard minstrels sing 
of thy deeds against the Saracen, Sir Knight, while I was 
yet a boy ; and yet here art thou now, the dread of the 
wandering sailor and the merchant a chief among thieves 
and pirates." 

"Alas! noble Wallace, thou sayest too truly," said 
Sir Thomas ; " but yet wouldst thou deem me as worthy 
of pity as of censure, didst thou but know all, and the 
remorse I even now endure. For a full year have I de- 
termined to quit this wild, unknightly mode of life, and go 
a pilgrim as of old; not to fight for the sepulchre for 
the battles of the Cross are over not to fight, but to die 
for it. But I accept, noble champion, this my first defeat 
on sea, as a message from heaven. Accept of me as 
true soldier under thee, and I will fight for thee in thy 
country's quarrel, to the death." 

" Most willingly, brave De Longoville," said the Gover- 
nor, as he raised him from the deck ; " Scotland needs 
sorely the use of such swords as thine." 

" And deem not her cause less holy," said the monk 
for monk he was, the well-known Chaplain Blair-^" deem 
not her cause less holy than that of the sepulchre itself; 
nor think that thou shalt eradicate the stain of past dis- 
honour less surely in her battles. The cause of justice, 
De Longoville, is the cause of God, contend for it where 
we may." 

Wallace returned to De Longoville the sword of which 
he had so lately disarmed him ; and the pirate admiral, 
on learning that the champion was bound for Rochelle, 
issued orders to his fleet, which, now that the mist rose, 
was found to consist of six large vessels, to follow close 
in their wake. The breeze blew steadily from the north- 
west, and the ships went careering along, each in her own 
long furrow of white, towards the port of their destination ; 
the pirate vessels keeping aloof full two bowshots from the 
Scotsman for so De Longoville had ordered, to prevent 
suspicion of treachery. He had set aside his armour, 
and now appeared to his new associates as a man of noble 
and knightly bearing, tall and stalwart as any warrior 
aboard, save the Governor; and, though his hair was 
blanched around his temples, and indicated the approach of 
age, the light step and quick sparkling eye gave evidence 
that his vigour of frame still remained undiminished. He 
sat apart, with the Governor and his two kinsmen, Clelland 
and Crawford, in the cabin under the poop. It was a rude, 
unornamented apartment, as might be expected, from the 
general appearance of the vessel ; but the profusion of 
arms and pieces of armour which hung from the sides, 
glittering to the light that found entrance through a case- 
ment in the deck, bestowed on the place an air of higher 
pretension. A table with food and wine was placed before 
the warriors. 

" It is now twenty-six years, or thereby," said de Longo- 
ville, " since I quitted Palestine for France, with the good 
Louis. I had fought by his side on the disastrous field of 
Massouna, and did all that a man of mould might to rescue 
him from the Saracens, when he fell into their hands, 
exhausted by his wounds and his sore sickness. But that 
day was written a day of defeat and disaster to the soldiers 



of the Cross. Nor need I say how I took my stand, with 
the best of my countrymen, on the walls of Damietta, and 
maintained them for the good cause, despite of the assembled 
forces of the Moslem, until we had bought back our king 
from captivity, by yielding up the city we defended for his 
ransom. It is enough for a disgraced man and a captive 
to say that my services were not overlooked by those whose 
notice was most an honour ; and that, ere I embarked for 
France, I received the badge of knighthood from the hand 
of the good Louis himself. 

" You all know of how different a character Charles of 
Anjou was from his brother the king. I had returned 
from the crusade rich only in honour, and found the lady 
of my affections under close thrall by her parents, who had 
resolved that she should marry Loithaire, Lord of Langue- 
doc. I knew that her heart was all my own ; but I knew, 
besides, that I must become wealthy ere I could hope to 
compete for her with a rival such as Loithaire ; and the 
good Pope Nicholas having made over the crown of the two 
Sicilies to Charles of Anjou, in an evil hour I entered the 
army with which Charles was to wrest it from the bastard 
Manfred having certain assurance, from the tyrant him- 
self, that, if he succeeded, I should become one of the nobles 
of Sicily. We encountered Manfred at Beneventura, and 
the bastard was defeated and slain. But I must blush, as 
a knight, for the honour of knighthood as a Frenchman for 
the fair fame of my country when I think of the cruelties 
which followed. Not the worst tyrants of old Rome could 
have surpassed Charles of Anjou in his butcheries. The 
blood plashed under the hoofs of his charger as he passed 
through the cities of his future kingdom ; and, when he 
had borne down all opposition, 'twould seem as if, in his 
eagerness to destroy all who might resist, he had also 
determined to extirpate all who could obey. But his 
policy proved as unsound as 'twas cruel and unjust, as the 
terrible Eve of the Vespers has since shewn. The Princes 
of Germany, headed by the chivalrous Conradine of Swabia, 
united against us in the cause of the people. But the arms 
of France were again triumphant; the confederacy was 
broken, and the gallant Conradine fell into the hands of 
Charles. It was I, warriors of Scotland ! to whom he 
surrendered ; and I had granted him, as became a knight, 
an assurance of knightly protection. But would that my 
arms had been hewn off at the shoulders when I first beat 
down his sword, and intercepted his retreat ! The infamous 
Charles treated my knightly assurance with scorn ; and 
can you credit such baseness, noble Wallace ! he ordered 
Conradine of Swabia a true knight, and an independent 
prince for instant execution, as if he were a common 
malefactor. My blood boils, even now, when I recall that 
terrible scene of injustice and cruelty. The soldiers of 
France crowded round the scaffold ; and I was among them, 
burning with shame and rage. Ere Conradine bent him 
to the executioner, he took off his glove, and, throwing it 
amongst us, adjured us, if we were not all as dead to 
honour as our leader, to bear it to some of his kinsmen, who 
would receive it as a pledge of investiture in his rights, 
and as bequeathing the obligation to revenge his death. 
Will you blame me, noble Wallace ! that, Frenchman as I 
was, I seized the glove of Conradine, and fled the army of 
Charles ; and that, ere I returned to France, I delivered it 
up to Pedro of Arragon, the near kinsman of the last 
Prince of Swabia? 

" My king and friend, the good Louis, had sailed from 
France for Palestine, on his last hapless voyage, ere 1 
had executed my mission. On my return to France, how- 
ever, I found a galley of Toulon on the eve of quitting port, 
to ioin with his fleet, then on the coast of Africa, and, 
snatching a hurried interview with the lady of my affections, 
maugre the vigilance of her relatives, I embarked to nght 
under Louis, as of old, for the blessed sepulchre. We 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



landed near Tunis, and saw- the tents of France glittering 
to the sun. But all was silent as midnight, and the royal 
standard hung reversed over the pavilion of the good Louis. 
He had died that morning of the plague ; and his base 
and cruel brother, the false Charles of Anjou, sat beside 
the corpse. I felt that I had fallen among my enemies ; 
for, though the young King \vas there, he was weak and in- 
experienced, and open to the influence of his uncle. The 
first knight I met, as I entered the camp, was Loithaire of 
Languedoc now the wily friend and counsellor of Charles. 
There were lying witnesses suborned against me, who ac- 
cused me of the most incredible and unheard-of practices ; 
and of these Loithaire was the chief. Twas in vain I 
demanded the combat, as a test of my innocence. The 
combat was denied me ; my sword was broken before the 
assembled chivalry of France ; my shield reversed ; and 
sentence was passed that I should be burnt at a stake, and 
my ashes scattered to the four winds of heaven. But it 
was not written that I should perish so. Scarce an hour 
before the opening of the day appointed for my execution, 
I broke from prison, assisted by a brother soldier, whose 
life I had saved in Palestine, and escaped to France. 

" I was a broken and ruined man. But how wondrous 
the force of true affection ! My Agnes knew this ; and 
yet, knowing all, she contrived to elude her guardians, 
and fled with me to the sea-shore, where we embarked, 
in a ship of Normandy, for the south of Ireland. From 
that hour De Longoville has fought under no banner but 
his own. I renounced, in my anger, my allegiance to my 
country nay, declared war with the sovereign who had 
so injured me. The years passed, and desperate and dis- 
honoured men like myself came flocking to me as their 
leader, till not Philip himself, or my old enemy Charles, 
had more kingly authority on land than De Longoville on 
the sea. But let no man again deceive himself as I have 
done. I had reasoned on the lax morality and doubtful 
honour of kings, and asked myself why I might not, as the 
admiral and prince of my fleet, achieve a less guilty, though 
not less splendid glory than the bastard William of Normandy, 
or Edward of England, or my old enemy Charles of Anjou. 
But I have long since been taught that what were high 
achievements and honourable conquest in the admiral of a 
hundred vessels, is but sheer piracy in the captain of six. 
I can trust, however, that the last days of De Longoville 
may yet be deemed equal to the first ; and that the middle 
term of his life may be forgiven him for its beginning and 
its close. Not a month since, I carried my wife and 
daughter to France, and took final leave of them, with 
the purpose of setting out on my pilgrimage to Palestine. 
That intention, noble Wallace ! is now altered ; and I 
must again seek them out, that they may accompany me to 
Scotland." 

" The foul stain of treason, brave Longoville, must be 
removed," said the Governor. " Charles of Anjou has long 
since gone to his account : does the Lord of Languedoc 
still survive ?" 

" He still lives," replied the admiral ; " his years do not 
outnumber my own." 

" Then must he- either retract the vile calumny, or grant 
you the combat. The young Philip has pledged his 
knightly word, when he solicited the visit lam now voyaging 
to pay him, that he would grant me the first boon I 
craved in person, should it involve the alienation of his fair- 
est province. That boon, brave De Longoville, will, at least, 
present you with the means of regaining your fair fame." 

De Longoville knelt on the cabin floor, and kissed the 
hand of the Governor. The conversation glided impercept- 
ibly to other and lighter matters; time passed gaily in the re- 
cital of stories of chivalrous endurance or exploit ; and the 
gale, which still blew steadily from the north-west, promised 
a speedy accomplishment of their voyage. For four days 



they sailed without shifting tack or lowering sail ; and, on 
the morning of the fifth, cast anchor in the harbour of 
Rochelle. 

On the evening of the second day after their arrival, a 
single knight was pricking his steed through one of the 
glades of the immense forest which, at this period, covered 
the greater part of the province of Poitiers. He had been 
passing, ever since morning, through what seemed an in- 
terminable wilderness of wood here clustered into almost 
impenetrable thickets shagged with an undergrowth of 
thorn, there opening into long bosky glades and avenues 
that seemed, however, only to lead into recesses still more 
solitary and remote than those that darkened around him. 
During the early part of the day, the sun had looked down 
gaily among the trees, checkering the sward below with a 
carpeting of alternate light and shadow ; and the knight, 
a lover of falconry and the chase, had rode jocundly on 
through the peopled solitude ; ever and anon grasping his 
spear, with the eager spirit of the huntsman, as the fawn 
started up beside his courser, and shot like a meteor across 
the avenue, or the wild boar or wolf rustled in the neigh, 
bouring brake. Towards evening, however, the eternal 
sameness of the landscape had begun to fatigue him ; the 
sun, too, had disappeared, long before his setting, in a veil of 
impenetrable vapour, mottled with grey, ponderous clouds, 
betokening an approaching storm; and the horseman pressed 
eagerly onward, in the hope of reaching, ere its bursting, 
the hostelry in which he had purposed to pass the evening. 
He had either, however, mistaken his way or miscalculated 
his distance ; for, after passing dell and dingle, glade and 
thicket, in monotonous succession, for hours on hours, the 
forest still seemed as dense and unending, and the hostelry 
as distant as ever. A brown and sleepy horror seemed to 
settle over the trees as the evening daiKened; the thunder 
began to bellow in long peals, far to the south, and a few 
heavy drops to patter from time to time on the leaves, giv- 
ing indication of the approaching deluge. The knight had 
just resigned himself to encounter all the horrors of the 
storm, when, on descending into a little bosky hollow, 
through which there passed a minute streamlet, he found 
himself in front of a deserted hermitage. It was a cell, 
opening, like an Egyptian tomb, in the face of a low preci- 
pice. A rude stone-cross, tapestried with ivy, rose im- 
mediately over the narrow door-way. 

" The saints be praised !" exclaimed the knight, leaping 
lightly from his horse. " I shall e'en avail myself of the 
good shelter they have provided. But thou, poor Biscay," 
he continued, patting his steed, " wouldst that thou wert 
with thy master, mine host of The Three Fleurs de Lis ! there 
is scant stabling for thee here. This way, however, good 
Biscay this way. Thou must bide the storm as thou best 
may'st in yonder hollow of the rock." And, leading the 
animal to the hollow, he fastened him to the stem of a 
huge ivy, and then entered the hermitage. 

It consisted of one small rude apartment, hewn, appa- 
rently with immense labour, in the living rock. A seat 
and bed of stone occupied the opposite sides ; and in the 
extreme end, fronting the door, there was a rude image of 
the Virgin, with a small altar of mouldering stone, placed 
before it. The evening was oppressively sultry, and, taking 
his seat on the bedside, the knight unlaced and set aside 
his helmet, exhibiting to the fust-dying light, the brown 
curling hair and handsome features of our old acquaintance 
Clelland for it was no other than he. The thunder 
began to roll in louder and longer peals, and the lightning 
to illumine, at brief intervals, every glade and dingle with- 
out, and every minute object within ; when a loud scream 
of dismay and terror, blent with the infuriated howl of 
some wild animal, rose from the upper part of the dell, and 
Clelland had but snatched up his spear and leaped out into 
the storm, when a young female, closely pursued by an 




THOMAS OF CHARTRES, 



VOL. IV. P. 77. 



TA LES OF THE BORDERS, 



77 



enormous wolf, came rushing down the declivity, in the 
direction of the hermitage ; but, in crossing the little stream, 
overcome apparently by fatigue and terror, she stumbled 
and fell. To interpose his person between the poor girl 
and her ravenous pursuer was with Clelland the work of 
one moment ; to make such prompt and efficient use of his 
spear that the steel head passed through and through the 
monster, and then buried itself in the earth beneath, was 
his employment in the next. The black blood came spout- 
ing out along the shaft, crimsoning both his hands to the 
wrists ; and the tranfixed savage, writhing itself round on 
the wood in its mortal agony, and gnashing its immense 
fangs, just uttered one tremendous howl that could be 
heard even above the pealing of the thunder, and then 
belched out its life at his feet. He raised the fallen girl, 
who seemed for a moment to have sunk into a state of 
partial swoon, and, disengaging his good weapon from 
the bleeding carcase, he supported her to the hermitage in 
the rock. 

She was attired in the garb of a common peasant of the 
age and country ; but there was even yet light enough to 
shew that her beauty was of a more dignified expression 
than is almost ever to be found in a cottage exquisite in 
colour and form as that which we meet with in the latter, 
may often be. There was a subdued elegance, too, in her 
few brief, but earnest expressions of gratitude to her de- 
liverer, that consorted equally ill with her attire. On 
entering the hermitage, she knelt before the altar, and 
prayed in silence ; while Clelland took his seat on the stone 
couch where he had before placed his helmet, leaving to 
his new companion the settle on the opposite side. Mean- 
while, the storm without had increased tenfold. The 
thunder rolled overhead, peal after peal, without break or 
pause ; so that the outbursting of every fresh clap was 
mingled with the echoes in which the wide spread forest 
had replied to the last. At times, the opposite acclivity, 
with all its thickets, seemed as if enveloped in an atmo- 
sphere of fire at times one immense seam of forked light- 
ning came ploughing the pitchy gloom of the heavens, 
from the centre to the horizon. The wild beasts of the 
forest were abroad. Clelland could hear their fierce howl- 
lings, mingled with the terrific bellowings of the heavens. 
The dead sultry calm was suddenly broken. A hurricane 
went raging through the woods. There was a creaking, 
crackling, rushing sound among the trees, as they strained 
and quivered to the blast ; and a roaring, like that of some 
huge cataract, shewed that a waterspout had burst in the 
upper part of the dell, and that the little stream was 
coming down in thunder a wide and impetuous torrent. 
Clelland's fair companion still remained kneeling before 
the altar. 'Twould seem as if her prayer of thanks for her 
great deliverance had changed into an earnest and oft- 
reiterated petition for still further protection. 

In a pause of the storm, the frightful howlings of a flock 
of wolves were heard rising from over the hermitage, as if 
hundreds had assembled on its roof of rock. Clelland 
sprung from his seat, and, grasping his spear, stood in the 
doorway. 

" We shall have to bide siege," he said to his companion. 
" I knew not that these fierce creatures mustered so thickly 
here." 

" Heaven be our protection !" said the maiden. " They 
fill every recess of the forest. I had left my mother's this 
evening for but an instant 'twas in quest of a tame fawn 
when the monster from whose murderous fangs you 
delivered me started up between me and my home ; and I 
had to fly from instant destruction into the thick of the 
forest.' 

" And so your place of residence is quite at hand ?" said 
Clelland. " In the course of a long day's journey, I have 
not met with a single human habitation." 



" The hermitage," replied the maiden. " is but a short 
half-mile from my mother's would that we were but safe 
there !" 

As she spoke, the Howling of the wolves burst out again, 
in frightful chorus, from above, and at least a score of the 
ravenous animals came leaping down over the rock, brush- 
ing in their descent the ivy and the underwood. Clelland 
couched his spear, so that nothing could enter by the 
narrow doorway without encountering its sharp point. 
But the wolves came not to the attack ; and their yells and 
howlings from the hollow of the rock, blent with the 
terrified snortings and pawings of poor Biscay, shewed 
that they were bent on an easier conquest, and bulkier, 
though less noble prey. The animal, in his first struggle, 
broke loose from his fastenings, and went galloping madly 
past; and an intensely bright flash of lightning, that 
illumined the whole scene of terror without, shewed him 
in the act of straining up the opposite bank, with a huge 
wolf fastened to his lacerated back, and closely pursued by 
full twenty more. 

It was, in truth, a night of dread and terror. Towards 
morning, however, the storm gradually sunk into a calm 
as dead as that which had preceded it, and a clear, starry 
sky looked down on the again silent forest. The maiden, 
now that there was less of danger, was rendered thoroughly 
unhappy by thoughts of her mother. She had left her, she 
said, but for an instant left her solitary in her dwelling ; 
and how must she have passed so terrible a night ! Clelland 
strove to quiet her fears. There was a little cloud in the 
east, he said, already reddening on its lower edge ; in an 
hour longer, it would be broad day, and he could then con- 
duct her to her mother's. 

" You have not always worn such a dress as that which 
you now wear," he continued ; " nor have you spent all 
your days on the edge of the forest. Does your father 
still live ?" 

There was a pause for a moment. 

" I am a native of France," she at length said ; " but I 
have passed most of my time in other countries. My 
father, in fulfilment of a vow, is now bound on a pilgrimage 
to Palestine." 

" And may I not crave your name ?" asked Clelland. 

tf My name," she replied, " is Bertha de Longoville. 
Brave and courtly warrior, but for whose generous and 
knightly daring I would havve found yester-evening a 
horrid tomb in the ravenous maw of the wolf, do not, I 
pray you, ask me more. A vow binds me to secrecy for 
the time." 

" Nay, fear not, gentle maiden," said Clelland, " that 
what you but wish to keep secret, I shall once urge you to 
reveal. But hear me, lady, and then judge how far I am 
to be trusted. You are the only daughter of Sir Thomas de 
Longoville, once a true soldier of the blessed Cross, but, in 
his latter days, less fortunate in his quarrels. Your father 
is now in France, and in two weeks hence will be in 
Paris." 

" Saints and angels !" exclaimed the maiden, " he has 
fallen into the hands of his enemies !" 

" Not so, lady ; he is among his best friends. The 
knightly word of Sir William Wallace of Elderslie, who 
never broke faith with friend or enemy, is pledged for his 
safe-keeping. With my kinsman, he is secure of at least 
safety perhaps even of grace and pardon. But the day 
has broken, maiden ; suffer me to conduct youjjo your 
mother's." 

They left the hermitage together, and ascended the side 
of the dell. As they passed the hollow in the rock, a 
bright patch of blood caught the eye of Clelland. 

"Ah, poor Biscay!" he exclaimed; "there is all that 
now remains of him ; and how to procure another steed m 
this wild district, I know not. My kinsman mU be at 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



Paris long ere his herald gets there. Well, there have 
been greater mishaps. Yonder is the carcase of the wolf 
I slew yester-evening, half eaten by his savage com- 
panions." 

The morning, we have said, was calm and still ; but the 
storm of the preceding night had left behind it no doubt- 
ful vestiges of its fury. The stream had fallen to its old 
level, and went tinkling along its channel, with a murmur 
that only served to shew how complete was the silence ; but 
the banks were torn and hollowed by the recent torrent, 
and tangled wreaths of brushwood and foliage lay high on 
the sides of the dell. The broken and ragged appearance 
of the forest gave evidence of the force of the hurricane. 
The fallen trees lay thick on the sides of the more exposed 
acclivities some reclining like spears, half bent to the 
charge, athwart the spreading boughs of such of their 
neighbours as the storm had spared ; others lay as if levelled 
by the woodman, save that their long flexile roots had 
thrown up vast fragments of turf, resembling the broken 
ruins of cottages. And, in an opening of the wood, a 
gigantic oak, the slow growth of centuries, lay scattered 
over the soil, in raw and splintery fragments, that gave 
strange evidence of the irresistible force of the agent 
employed in its destruction. The trees opened as they 
advanced, and theyemergedfrom the forest as the firstbeams 
of the sun had begun to glitter on the topmost boughs. A 
low, moory plain, walled in by a range of distant hills, and 
mottled with a few patches of corn, and a few miserable 
cottages, lay before them. A grey detached tower, some- 
what resembling that of an English village church, rose on 
the forest edge, scarce a hundred yards away. 

" Yonder tower, Sir Knight," said the maiden, " is the 
dwelling of my mother. Alas ! what must she not have 
endured during the protracted horrors of the night !" 

" There is, at least, joy waiting her now," said Clelland ; 
" and all will soon be well." 

They approached the tower. It was a small and very 
picturesque erection, of three low stories in height, with 
projecting turrets at the front corners, connected by a 
hanging bartizan, over which there rose a sharp serrated 
gable, to the height of about two stories more. A row of 
circular shot-holes, and a low narrow door- way, were the 
only openings in the lower story the few windows in the 
upper, long and narrow, and scarce equal in size to a 
Norman shield, were thickly barred with iron. The build- 
ing had altogether a dilapidated and deserted appearance ; 
for the turrets were broken-edged and mouldering, and 
some of the large square flags had slidden from off the 
stone roof, and lay in the moat, which, from a reservoir, had 
degenerated into a quagmire, mantled over with aquatic 
plants, and with, here and there, a bush of willow spring- 
ing out from the sides. A single plank afforded a rather 
doubtful passage across ; and the iron studded door of the 
fortalice lay wide open. Clelland hung back as the maiden 
entered. 

" My daughter ! my Bertha !" exclaimed a female voice 
from within ; " and do you yet live ! and are you again 
restored to me !" 

The Knight entered., and found the maiden in the embrace 
of her mother. 

" That I still live," said Bertha, I owe it to this brave 
and courtly knight. But for his generous daring, your 
daughter would have found strange burial in the ravenous 
maw of a wolf." 

The mother turned round to Clelland, and grasped his 
mailed hand in both hers. 

" The saints be your blessing ana reward !" she ex- 
claimed ; " for I cannot repay you. God himself be your 
teward ! for earth bears no price adequate to the benefit. 
You have restored to the lonely and the broken in spirit 
her only stay and comfort." 



" Nay, madam," said Clelland, " I would have done as 
much for the meanest serf; for Bertha de Longoville I 
could have laid down my life." 

The mother again grasped his hand. She was a tall and 
a still beautiful woman, though considerably turned of 
forty, and though she yet bore impressed on her counten- 
ance no unequivocal traces of the distress of the night. 
She told them of her sufferings ; and was made acquainted 
in turn with the frightful adventure in the hermitage, and, 
more startling still, with the resolution of her husband to 
confront his calumniators at the court of France. 

" We must set out instantly on our journey to Paris, 
Bertha," said the matron ; " your father, in his imminent 
peril, must not lack some one, at least to comfort, if not 
to assist him." 

" Nay," said Clelland, " ere your setting out, you must 
first take rest enough, to recover the fatigues and watching 
of the night. And, besides, how could two unprotected 
females travel through such a country as this ? Hear me 
lady : I was hastening to Paris in advance of my party ; 
but now that I have missed my way and lost my good 
steed, they will be all there before me. It matters but 
little. My kinsman can well afford wanting a herald. I 
shall cast myself on your hospitality for the day ; and, to- 
morrow, should you feel yourself fully recovered, you shall 
set out for Paris, under such convoy as I can afford you." 

Both ladies expressed their warmest gratitude for the 
kind and generous offer ; and there was that in the thanks 
of the younger which Clelland would have deemed price 
sufficient for a service much less redolent of pleasure than 
that he had just tendered. She was in truth one of the 
loveliest women he had ever seen ; tall and graceful, and 
with a countenance exquisite in form and colour. But, with 
all of the bodily and the material that constitutes beauty, 
it was mainly to expression, that index of the soul, that 
she owed her power. There was a steady light in the dark 
hazel eye, joined to an air of quiet, unobtrusive self-posses- 
sion, which seemed to sit on the polished and finely formed 
forehead, that gave evidence of a strong and equable mind ; 
while the sweet smile that seemed to lurk about the mouth, 
and the air of softness spread over the lower part of the 
face, shewed that there mingled with the stronger traits of 
her character the feminine gentleness and sweetness of 
disposition, so fascinating in the sex. A little girl from 
one of the distant cottages entered the building with a 
milking pail in her hand. 

" Ah, my good Annette," said the matron, you left 
me by much too soon yester-evening ; but it matters not 
now. You must busy yourself in getting breakfast for 
us meanwhile, good Sir Knight, this way. The tower 
is a wild ruin, but all its apartments are not equally ruin- 
ous." 

They ascended, by a stair hollowed in the thickness ot 
the wall, to an upper story. There was but one apartment 
on each floor ; so that the entire building consisted but of 
four, and the two closet-like recesses in the turrets. The 
apartment they now entered was lined with dark oak ; a 
massy table of the same material occupied the centre ; and 
a row of ponderous stools, like those which Cowper de- 
scribes in his " Task," ran along the wall. An immense 
chimney, supported by two rude pillars of stone, and piled 
with half-charred billets of wood, projected over the floor ; 
the lintel, an oblong tablet about three feet in height, was 
roughened by uncouth heraldic sculptures of merwomen 
playing on harps, and two knights in complete armour 
fronting each other, as in the tilt-yard. The windows were 
small and dark, and barred with iron ; and through one of 
these that opened to the east, the morning sun, now risen 
half a spear's length over the forest, found entrance, in a 
square slanting rule of yellow light, which fell on the floor 
under a square recess in the opposite Avail. The little girl 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



/9 



entered immediately after the ladies and Clelland, bearing 
fire and fuel ; a cheerful blaze soon roared in the chimney ; 
and, as the morning felt keen and chill after the recent 
storm, they seated themselves before it. An hour passed 
in courtly and animated dialogue, and then breakfast was 
served up. 

The younger lady would fain have prolonged the con- 
versation for it had turned on the struggles of the Scots, 
and the wonderful exploits of Wallace had not her mother 
reminded her that they stood much in need of rest to 
strengthen them for their approaching journey. They 
both, therefore, retired to their sleeping apartments in the 
turrets ; while the knight, providing himself with a bow 
and a few arrows, sallied out into the forest. The practice 
in wood-craft, which he had acquired under his kinsman, 
who, in his reverses, could levy on only the woods and moors, 
stood him in so good stead, that, when dinner-time came 
round, a noble haunch of venison and two plump pheasants 
smoked on the board. But Bertha alone made her appear- 
ance. Her mother, she said, still felt fatigued, and slightly 
indisposed ; but she trusted to be able to join them in the 
course of the evening. 

There was nothing Clelland had so anxiously wished for, 
when spending the earlier part of the day in the wood, as 
some such opportunity of passing a few hours with Bertha. 
And yet, now that the opportunity had occurred, he scarce 
knew how to employ it. The radiant smile of the maiden 
her light, elegant form, and lovely features had haunted 
him all the morning ; and he wisely enough thought there 
could be but little harm in frankly telling her so. But, 
now that the fair occasion had offered, he found that all his 
usual frankness had left him, and that he could scarce say 
anything, even on matters more indifferent. And, what 
seemed not a little strange, too, the maiden was scarcely 
more at her ease than himself, and could find not agreatdeal 
more to say. Dinner passed almost in silence ; and Bertha, 
rising to the square recess in the wall, drew from it a 
flagon filled with wine, which she placed before her 
guest, and a vellum volume, bound in velvet and gold. 

" This," she said, " is a wonderful romaunt, written by 
a countryman of yours, of whom I have heard the strangest 
stories. Can you tell me aught regarding him ?" 

" Ah !" said the knight, taking up the volume, " the 
book of Tristram. I am not too young, lady, to have seen 
the writer the good Thomas of Erceldoune." 

" Seen Thomas of Erceldoune ! Thomas the Rhimer !" 
exclaimed the lady. " And is it sooth that his prophecies 
never fail, and that he now lives in Elf-land ?" 

" Nay, lady, the good Thomas sleeps in Lauderdale, with 
his fathers. But we trust much to his prophecies. They 
have given us heart and hope amid our darkest reverses. 
He predicted the years of oppression and suffering which, 
through the death of our good Alexander, have wasted our 
country ; but he prophesied, also, our deliverance through 
my kinsman, Sir William of Elderslie. We have already 
seen much of the evil he foresaw, and much, also, of the 
good. Scotland, though still threatened by the power of 
Edward, is at this moment free." 

" I have long wished," said Bertha, " to see those 

warriors of Scotland whose fame is filling all Europe. 

And now that wish is gratified nay, more than gratified." 

" You see but one of her minor warriors," said Clelland ; 

" but at Paris you shall meet with the Governor himself. 

Your father, Bertha, should he succeed in clearing his fair 

fame and I know he will sets out with us for Scotland. 

Will not you and the lady your mother also accompany us?" 

" I had deemed my father bound on a pilgrimage to the 

fioly sepulchre," said Bertha. 

" But he has since thought," said Clelland, " how much 
better it were to live gloriously fighting in a just quarrel 
beside the first warrior of the world, than to perish 



obscurely in some loathsome pesthouse of the far east. I 
myself heard him tender his services to my kinsman." 

' Then be sure," said Bertha, " my mother and I will 
not be separated from him. Might one find in Scotland, 
Sir Knight, some such quiet tower as this, where two 
defenceless women may bide the issue of the contest ?" 

" Why defenceless, lady ? There are many gallant 
swords in Scotland that would needs be beaten down ere 
you could come to harm. And why not now accept of 
Clelland's? Scotland has greater warriors and better 
swords ; but, trust me, lady, she cannot boast of a truer 
heart. _ Accept of me, lady, as your bounden knight." 

A rich flush of crimson suffused the face and neck of 
the maiden, as she held out her hand to Clelland, who 
raised it respectfully to his lips. 

" I accept of thee, noble warrior," she said, " as true and 
faithful knight, seeing that thy own generous tender of 
service doth but second what Heaven had purposed, Avhen, 
in my imminent peril in the wood, it sent thee to my 
rescue. Trust me, warrior, never yet had lady knight whom 
she respected more." 

Clelland again raised her hand to his lips. 

" I have a sister, lady," he said, " whose years do not out- 
number your own. She lives lonely, since the death of my 
mother, in the home of my fathers a tower roomier and 
stronger than this, and on the edge of a forest nearly as 
widely spread. You will be her companion, lady, and her 
friend ; and your mother will be mistress of the mansion. 
On the morrow, we set out for Paris." 

The style in which the party travelled was sufficiently 
humble. Four small and very shaggy palfreys were pro- 
vided from the neighbouring cottages : the ladies and 
Clelland were mounted on three of these ; and the fourth, 
led by a hind, carried the luggage of the party. Before 
setting out, the lady had entrusted to the charge of the 
knight, a small, but very ponderous casket of ebony. 

" It needs, in these unsettled times," she said, " some 
such person to care for it ; and Bertha and I would fare all 
the worse for wanting it." 

The journey was long and tedious, and the daily stages 
of the party necessarily short. Their route lay through a 
wild, half- cultivated country, which seemed to owe much 
to the hand of nature, but little to that of man. There 
was an ever-recurring succession, day after day, of dreary, 
wide-spreading forests, with comparatively narrow spaces 
between, which, from the imperfect and doubtful traces of 
industry which they exhibited, seemed as if but lately re- 
claimed from a state of nature. Groups of miserable serfs, 
bound to the soil even more rigidly than their fellow-slaves 
the cattle, were plying their unskilful and unproductive 
labours in the fields. They passed scattered assemblages 
of dingy hovels, with here and there a grim feudal tower 
rising in the midst giving evidence, by the strength of 
its defences, of the insecurity and turbulence of the time. 
The travellers they met Avith were but few. Occasionally 
a strolling troubadour or harper accompanied them part of 
the way, on his journey from one baronial Castle to an- 
other. At times, they met with armed parties of travelling 
merchants, bound for some distant fair ; at times with dis- 
banded artisans, wandering about in quest of employment ; 
soldiers in search of a master ; or pilgrims newly returned 
from Palestine, attired in cloaks of grey, and bearing the 
scallop in their caps. The hind, their attendant, bore in 
his scrip, from stage to stage, their provisions for the day ; 
and their evenings were passed in some rude hostelry by 
the way-side. The third week had passed, ere, one even- 
in"' on the edge of twilight, they alighted at the hostel of 
St Denis, and ascertained, from mine host, that they were 
now within half a stage of Paris. 

The hostel was crowded with travellers; and the ladies i 
Clelland, for the early part of the evening, were fain to take 



80 



TALES OF THE BGHDEliS. 



their places in the common room beside the fire. A young 
and handsome troubadour, whose jemmy jerkhij and cap 
of green, edged with silver, shewed that he was either one 
of the more wealthy of his class, or under the patronage 
of some rich nobleman, and who had courteously risen to 
yield place to Bertha, had succeeded in reseating himself 
beside the knight. 

" The hostel swarms with company," said Clelland, ad- 
dressing him " pray, good minstrel, canst tell me the oc- 
casion ? Is there a fair holds to-morrow ?" 

" Ah, Sir Knight," said the minstrel, " I should rather 
ask of thee, seeing thy tongue shews thee to be a Scot. 
Dost not know that thy countryman, the brave Wallace of 
Elderslie, is at court, and that all who can, in any wise, leave 
their homes for a season, are leaving them, to see him ? It 
is not once in a lifetime that such a knight may be looked 
at. And, besides, have you not heard that the combat comes 
on to-morrow?" 

" I have heard of nothing," said Clelland ; " my route 
has lain, of late, through the remoter parts of the country. 
What combat ?" 

" Sir Thomas de Longoville, so long a true soldier of the 
cross so long, too, a wandering pirate has defied to mortal 
combat, Loithaire of Languedoc ; and our fair Philip, 
through the intercession of Wallace, has granted him the 
lists." 

Both the ladies started at the intelligence; and the elder, 
wrapping up her face in her mantle, bent her head well 
nigh to her knee. 

" And how, good minstrel," said Bertha, in a voice tremu- 
lous from anxiety, " how is it thought the combat will go ?" 
" That rests with Heaven, fair lady," said the minstrel. 
" Loithaire is known, far and wide, as a striker in the lists ; 
but who has not also heard of De Longoville, and his wars 
with the fierce Saracen ? Many seem to think, too, that 
he has been foully injured by Loithaire. That soul of 
knightly honour, the good Lord Jonville, has already 
renewed his friendship with him, as his friend and comrade 
in the battles of Palestine, and will attend him to-morrow 
in the lists." 

" May all the saints reward him !" ejaculated the elder 
lady. 

"And at what hour, Sir Minstrel," asked the knight, 
" does the combat come on ?" 

" At the turn of noon," replied the minstrel, "when the 
shadow first veers to the east. I go to Paris, to find new 
theme for a ballad, and to see the good Wallace, who is 
himself the theme of so many." 

The travellers were early on the road. With all their 
haste and anxiety, however, they saw the sun climbing to- 
wards the middle heavens, while the city was yet several 
miles distant. They spurred on their jaded palfreys, and 
entered the suburbs about noon. What Avas properly the 
city of Paris in this age, occupied one of the larger islands 
of the Seine, and was surrounded by a high wall, flanked 
at the angles by massy towers, and strengthened by rows 
of thickly set-buttresses ; but, on either side the river, there 
were immense assemblages of the dirtiest and meanest 
hovels that the necessities of man had ever huddled to- 
gether. The travellers, however, found but little time for 
remark in passing through. All Paris had poured out her 
inhabitants, to witness the combat, and they now crowded 
an upper island of the Seine, which the chivalry of the age 
had appropriated as a scene of games, tournaments, and 
duels. Clelland and the ladies had but reached the op- 
posite bank, when a flourish of trumpets told them thai 
the combatants had taken their places in the lists, and were 
waiting the signal to engage. 

" No further, ladies, no further," said the knight, " or we 
shall entangle ourselves in the outer skirts of the crowd 
and see nothing. This way ; let us ascend this eminence, 



and the scene, though somewhat distant, will be all before 
us." 

They ascended a smooth green knoll, the burial mound 
of some chieftain of the olden time, that overlooked the 
river. The island lay but a short furlong away. They 
ould look over the heads of the congregated thousands 
nto the open lists, and see the brilliant assemblage of the 
aeauty and gallantry of France, which the fame of De 
Longoville and his opponent, and the singular nature o* 
their quarrel, had drawn together. The sun glanced gaily 
on arms and armour,on many a robe of rich embroidery and 
many a costly jewel, and high over the whole, the oriflamc 
of France, so famous in story, waved its flames of crimson 
and gold to the breeze. Knights and squires traversed 
the area, in gay and glittering confusion ; and at either end 
there sat a warrior on horseback, as still and motionless 
as if sculptured in bronze. The champion at the northern 
end was cased from head to foot in sable armour, and beside 
him, under the blue pennon of Scotland, there stood a group 
of knights, who, though tall and stately as any in the lists, 
seemed lessened almost to boys in the presence of a gigantic 
warrior in bright mail, who, like Saul among the people, 
raised his head and shoulders over the proud crests of the 
assembled chivalry of France. 

"Yonder, ladies yonder is my kinsman," exclaimed 
Clelland ; " yonder is Wallace of Elderslie ; and the cham- 
pion beside him is Sir Thomas de Longoville." 

There was a second flourish of trumpets. Bertha flung 
herself on her knees on the sward, and raised her hands to 
her eyes. Her mother almost fainted outright. 

" Nay," said Clelland, " that is but the signal to clear the 
lists ; the knights hurry behind the palisades, and the cham- 
pions are left alone. Fear not, dearest Bertha ! there is a 

God in Heaven, and Ah, there is the third flourish ! 

The champions strike their spurs deep into their chargers ; 
and see how they rush forward, like thunder clouds before a 
hurricane ! They close ! they close ! hark to the crash !- 
their steeds are thrown back on their haunches ! Look up, 
Bertha ! look up ! your father has won he has won ! 
Loithaire is flung from his saddle, the spear of De Longo- 
ville has passed through hauberk and dorslet ; I saw the 
steel head glitter red at the felon's back. Look up, ladies ! 
look up! de Longoville is safe; nay, more restored to the 
honour and fair fame of his early manhood. Let us 
hasten and join him, that we may add our congratulations 
to those of his friends." 

Why dwell longer on the story of Thomas de Longoville ? 
No Scotsman acquainted with Blind Harry need be told 
how frequent and honourable the mention of his name in 
the latter pages of that historian. Scotland became his 
adopted country, and well and chivalrously did he fight in 
her battles ; till, at length, when well nigh worn out by the 
fatigues and hardships of a long and active life, the 
decisive victory at Bannockburn gave him to enjoy an old 
age of peace and leisure, in the society of his lady, on the 
lands of his son-in-law. Need we add it was the gallant 
Clelland who stood in this relation to him ? The chosen 
knight of Bertha had become her favoured lover, and the 
favoured lover a fond and devoted husband. Of the Gover- 
nor more anon. There was a time, at least, when Scotsmen 
did not soon weary of stories of the Wight Wallace. 




TALES OF THE BORDERS, 



AND OF SCOTLAND. 



THE WAGER. 

THE intimate connection between the mind and the 
body has been often curiously exhibited, by the effects of 
certain strong exciting passions upon the physical economy. 
Anger, as we all know, has produced apoplexy ; a par- 
oxysm of fear has, in one night, bleached black hair to the 
colour of the driven snow ; grief breaks the heart ; and 
learning has made many a man mad. In that species of 
alarm which is roused by a fear of being under the do- 
minion of a mortal disease, there resides a power with 
which doctors are well acquainted ; but which is, perhaps, 
not so well known by mankind generally as to exclude the 
necessity of a limited developement. That it has often 
produced death, there can be no doubt ; and we pledge 
ourselves to the truth of one memorable instance, which 
we are now about to detail; but the question, What is 
the peculiar character of the passion ? its difference from 
ordinary alarm or fear being clear and indisputable will long 
remain one which will occupy the minds of physiologists ; 
and, letting these subtle points alone, we proceed to say 
that, about thirty years ago, the office of carrier between 
Edinburgh and a certain town on the north of the Tay, 
was discharged by a person of the name of George Skirving. 
At the time of which we speak, he might be about forty- 
five years of age, a man of considerable physical strength, 
and with as much mental firmness as will be found among 
the generality of mankind. His occupation, in travelling 
during night, required often the confirming influence of 
personal courage, to keep him from being alarmed ; and his 
activity, and exposure to the fresh air of both land and 
water, were conducive to bodily health and elasticity of 
spirits. He was at once a faithful carrier and a good com- 
panion on the road, along which he was generally respected ; 
and, by attention to business and economical habits of living, 
he had been enabled to realize as much money as might 
suffice to sustain him, with his wife and three children, in 
the event of his being disabled, by accident or ill health, 
from following his ordinary employment. 

The day in which George Skirving left the northern 
town for Edinburgh, was Wednesday of each week ; and he 
started at the hour of seven, both in winter and summer. 
On one occasion, in the month of August, he set out from his 
quarters at his usual hour, and having crossed the Tay with 
his goods, proceeded on his way through Fife. He had 
with him his dog Wolf, who usually served him as a com- 
panion ; his waggons were loaded with goods, the proceeds 
of the carriage of which he counted as he trudged along ; 
and he, now and then, had recourse to a small flask of spirits, 
which his wife had, without his knowledge, and contrary 
to her usual custom, placed in the breast pocket of his 
great coat. He was thus in good spirits ; and, as he applied 
himself with great moderation, for he was a sober man, to 
his inspiring companion, he jocularly blamed Betty (such 
was the name of his consort) for defrauding his houses of 
call on the road of the custom he used to bestow on 
them. 

"It was kind o' ye, Betty," he said; "but it saves naething; 
for if I, wha have travelled this road for. sae mony years, 
J67. VOL. IV. 



were to pass John Sharpe's, or Widow M'Murdo's, or Andrew 
Gernmel's, withoot takin my usual allowance, I would be 
set doun as fey or mad. I maun gae through a' my usual 
routine mak my ca's, order my drams, drink them, and 
pay for them, as I hae dune for twenty years. Men are 
just like clocks some gae owre fast, and some owre slow ; 
but the carrier, beyond a', maun keep to his time aye, 
and chap at the proper time and place, or idleness and 
beggary would soon mak time hang weary on his 
hands." 

He had trudged onwards in his slow pace for a space of 
about eight miles, and was at the distance of about three 
from Cupar, when he was accosted by a person of the name 
of James Cowie, an inhabitant of Dundee, with whom he 
had, for a long time, been in habits of intimacy. 

" You are weel forward the day, George," said Cowie. 
" Ye'll be in Cupar before your time. There's rowth o 
parcels for ye at John Sharpe's door, yonder. But, mercy 
on me !" he continued, starting and looking amazed, " what's 
the matter wi' ye, man?" 

" Naething," replied George. ' I hae been takin a few 
draps o' Betty's cordial, here," pointing to the flask, " an' 
maybe the colour may have mounted to my face." 

" The colour mounted to your face, man !" ejaculated 
Cowie. " Is it whiteness paleness, ye mean by colour ? 
Ye're like a clout, man a bleached clout. There's some- 
thing wrang, rely upon it, George ; some o' that intricate 
machinery o' our fearfu' systems, out o' joint. Is it possible 
ye have felt or feel nae change ?" 

"Nane whatever, Jamie," answered the carrier, some- 
what alarmed. " You're surely joking me I never felt 
better i' my life. No, no, Jamie, there's naething the 
matter thank God, I'm in guid health." 

" It's weel ye think sae," replied Cowie, with a satirical 
tone; " but, if I'm no cheated, ye're on the brink o' some 
fearfu' disease. Get upon your cart, man hasten to 
Cupar, an' speak to Doctor Lowrie. It's a braw thing to 
tak diseases in time." 

" If a white face is a' ye judge by," said George, at- 
tempting to make light of the matter, " I can remove it by 
an application to Betty's cordial." 

" Ay, do that," said Cowie, ironically, " and add fuel to 
the flame. If I werena your friend, I wadna tak this 
liberty wi' ye. I assure ye again, an' I hae some judg- 
ment o' thae matters, that ye're very ill. That's no an 
ordinary paleness ; your lips are blue, an' your eyes dull 
an' heavy sure signs o' an oncome. Haste ye to Cupar 
an' get advice, an' ye may yet ca' me your best friend." 

As he finished these words, Cowie turned to proceed on- 
wards towards Newport. 

" Ye've either said owre little or owre muckle, James," 
replied George, after a slight pause, and resigning his 
carelessness. 

" I hae just said the truth, George," added Cowie^; "but 
I maun be in Dundee by one o'clock, an' canna wait. I'll 
say naething to Mrs Skirving, to alarm her ; but, for God's 
sake, tak my advice, an' consult Doctor Lowrie." 

He proceeded on his journey, leaving Skirving in doubt 
and perplexity. At first he was considerably affected by 
Cowie's speech and manner, because he knew him to be a 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



serious man, and averse to all manner of joking. It was 
possible, he admitted, that a disease might be lurking 
secretly in his vitals, unknown to himself, but discernible 
to another ; and the circumstance of his wife having put the 
flask of cordial in his coat pocket, seemed to indicate that 
fehe had observed something wrong before he set out, and 
had been afraid to communicate it to him, in case it might 
alarm him. His spirits sunk, as this confirmation of 
Cowie's statement came to his mind ; he put his right hand 
to his left wrist, to feel the state of the pulse, and, as might 
liave been expected, discovered ( for he overlooked the 
effects of his fear) that it was much quicker than it used 
to be when he was in perfect health. 

Having been taken thus by surprise, he remained in a 
state of considerable depression for some time ; but when 
he came to think of the inadequate grounds of his alarm, 
he began to rally ; and his mind, rebounding, as it were, on 
the cessation of the depressing reverie, threw off the fear, 
and he recovered so far his natural courage as to laugh at 
the strange fancy that had taken possession of him. 

" I was a fule," he said, to himself. " What though my 
face be pale, and my eyes heavy, and my pulse a little 
quicker than usual, am I to dee for a' that ? Cowie has 
probably had his morning ; and truly his appearance, now 
when I think of it, didna assort ill wi' that supposition. 
Johnny Sharpe and he are auld cronies, and they couldna 
part without some wet pledge o' their auld friendship. I'll 
ivad my best horse on the point. Ha ! ha ! what a fule 
I was !" He ac.oampanied these words by again feel- 
ing his pulse. The fear was greatly off, the pulsations 
had become more regular ; and this confirmation enabled 
him to laugh off the effects the extraordinary announce- 
ments had made upon him. 

He proceeded onwards to Cupar, and stopped at John 
Sharpe's Inn. The landlord was at the door. George 
looked at him narrowly, as he saluted him in the ordinary 
form. He thought the innkeeper looked also very narrowly 
at him, as he answered his salutation ; but he was afraid to 
broach the question of his sickly appearance, and hurried 
away to get the goods packed that stood at the inn door. 
Having finished his work, during which he thought he 
saw the landlord looking strangely at him, he called for the 
quantity of spirits he was usually in the habit of getting, 
and, as he filled out the glass, asked quickly if James 
Cowie had been there that morning. The landlord an- 
swered that he had ; but added, of his own accord, that he 
did not remain in the house so long as to give time for 
even drinking to each other. This answer produced a 
greater effect upon George than he was even then aware of; 
and it is not unlikely that this, and the impression that 
the landlord looked at him strangely, produced the very 
paleness that Cowie had mentioned. Be that as it may, 
he took up the glass of spirits and laid it down again, with- 
out almost tasting it; and his reason for this departure from 
his ordinary course, was, that he had already partaken suf- 
ficiently of his wife's cordial ; and he had some strange 
.misgivings about drinking ardent spirits, in case, after all, 
it might turn out that there was hanging about him some 
disease. The moment he laid down the full glass, the land- 
lord said to him, looking in an inquiring and sympathetic 
manner into his face 

" George, I haena seen you do that for ten years. Are 
you well enough ?" 

" What ! what ! eh, what !" stammered out the carrier 
confusedly ; " do you think I'm ill, John ?" 

The words were scarcely out of his mouth, when the 
inn bell rang, and the landlord was called away, and, being 
otherwise occupied, did not return. After waiting for 
him a considerable time, Skirving became impatient, and, 
making another effort to shake off his fears, applied the 
whip to big horses, and proceeded on his Journey. For 



a time, his mind was so much confused that he could not 
contemplate the whole import of the extraordinary coincid- 
ence he had just witnessed; but, as he proceeded and came to 
a quieter part of the road, his thoughts reverted to the 
statements of James Cowie who, he was now satisfied, 
had been quite sober to the looks and extraordinary ques- 
tion of John Sharpe, and to the intention of his wife in pro- 
viding him with the cordial. As he pondered on this strange 
accumulation of according facts, he again felt his pulse, 
which had again risen to the height it had attained during 
the prior paroxysm. The affair had now assumed a new 
aspect. It was impossible that this concurrence of circum 
stances could be fortuitous. He was now much afraid that 
he was ill very ill indeed ; perhaps under the incipient 
symptoms of typhus, or brain-fever, or small-pox, or some 
other dreadful disease. As these thoughts rose in his mind, 
he grew faint, and would have sat down ; but he felt a re- 
luctance to stop his carts, and a feeling of shame struggled 
against his conviction, and kept him walking. 

This state of nen r ous excitement remained, in spite of 
many efforts he made to throw off his fears. Yet he wag 
bound to admit that he felt no symptoms of pain or sick- 
ness ; by and by, the feeling of alarm began again to decay, 
and by the time he got eight or ten miles farther on his road, 
he had conjured up a good many sustaining ideas and 
arguments, whereby he at least contrived to increase the 
quantum of doubt of his being really ill. He rallied a 
little again ; but the temporary elevation was destined to 
be succeeded by another depression, which, in its turn, 
gave place to another accession of relief ; and thus he wag 
kept in a painful alternatior of changing fancies, until he 
was within a mile and a half of the next place of call a 
little house at some distance from the Plasterer's Inn. 

He had hitherto been progressing at a very slow rate, 
and was in the act of raising his hand to apply the whip 
to his horses, when he saw before him Archibald Willison, 
a sort of itinerant cloth merchant, a native of Dundee, 
with whom he was on terms of intimacy. They had met 
often on the road, and had gossiped together over a little 
refreshment at the inns where the carrier stopped. At 
this particular time, George Skirving would rather have 
avoided his old friend ; for he was under a depression of 
spirits, and felt also a disinclination, or fear, he could not 
account for, to submit his face and appearance to the lynx 
eye of the travelling merchant. He had, however, no 
choice. 

" Ah, George," cried Archy, " it's lang since I saw ye. 
How are ye ? What !" starting, as if surprised " have ye 
beenlyin, man confined sick? what, in God's name, has 
been the matter wi' ye ? Some sad complaint, surely, to pro- 
duce so mighty a change." 

This address seemed to George just the very confirmation 
he now required to make him perfectly satisfied of his 
danger. It was too much for him to hear and suffer 
Staggering back, he leant upon the side of his cart, antf 
drew breath with difficulty, attempting in vain to give his 
friend some reply. 

" It's wrang in ye, man," continued Archy, as he saw the 
carrier labouring to find words to reply to him " it's 
wrang in ye, George, to be here in that state o' body. 
How did Betty permit it ? Wha wad guarantee your no 
lyin doun an' deem by the road side ? I'm sure I wadna 
undertake the suretyship." 

" I have not been a day confined, Archy," said George, 
as he slightly recovered from the shock caused by the an- 
nouncement. "I have not been ill; and left home this 
morning in my usual health." 

" Good God !" ejaculated Archy, < f is that possible ? Then 
is it sae muckle the waur. I thought it had been a' owrs 
wi' ye that ye had been ill, an' partly recovered ; but now 
I see the disease is only comin yet. How deadly pale ye 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



83 



are., man ! an' what a strange colour there is on your lips, 
round the sockets o' your een, an' the edges o' your 
nostrils !" eO 

" I hae been told that the day already, Archy," said 
George ; " I fear there's some truth in't. Yet, I feel nae 
pain I'm only weak an' nervous." 

" Ah, ye ken little about fevers o' the putrid kind 
typhus, an' the like," continued the other, " when ye think 
they shew themselves by ordinary symptoms. I had a cousin 
who died o' typhus last week ; an' he looked, when he took 
it, just as ye look, an' spoke just as ye speak. Tak the 
advice o' a friend, George; dinna stop at Widow M'Murdo's; 
ye can get nae advice there ; hurry on to Edinburgh, and 
apply immediately on your arrival to a doctor o' repute. I 
assure ye a his skill will be required." 

After some conversation, all tending to the same effect, 
Willison parted from him, continuing his route to Cupar. 
All the doubt that had existed in the mind of the victim, 
vas now removed, and a settled conviction took hold of 
Aim, that he was on the very eve of falling into some 
terrible illness. A train of gloomy fancies took possession 
of his mind, and he pictured himself lying extended on a 
bed of sickness, with the angel of death hanging over him, 
and an awakened conscience within, wringing him with its 
agonizing tortures. The nature of the disease which im- 
pended over him the putrid typhus was fixed, and put 
beyond doubt; and all the cases he had known of individuals 
who had died of that disease, were brought before the eye of 
his imagination, to feed the appetite for horrors, which now 
began to crave food. He endeavoured to analyze his sen- 
sations, and discovered, what he never felt before, a hard, 
fluttering palpitation at his heart, a difficulty of breathing, 
weakness, trembling of the limbs, and other clear indica- 
tions of the oncoming attack of a fatal disease. 

Moving slowly forward, under the load of these thoughts, 
he arrived at Widow M'Murdo's, where he fed his horses. 
lie was silent and gloomy ; and the fear under which he 
laboured, produced a real appearance of illness, which soon 
struck the eye of the kind dame. 

" What ails ye ?" asked she, kindly ; and ran and brought 
out her bottle of cordial, to administer to him that uni- 
versal medicine ; but her question was enough moody and 
miserable, he paid little attention to her kindness, and de- 
parted for Kirkaldy. Under the same load of despondency 
and apprehension, he arrived at Andrew Gemmel's, where it 
was his practice to remain all night. He exhibited the ap- 
pearance of a person labouring under some grievous mis- 
fortune ; and, deputing the feeding of his horses to the 
hostler, he seemed to be careless whether justice was done 
to them or not. The landlord noticed the change that had 
taken place upon him. " What ails ye, George ?" was asked 
repeatedly ; and the death-like import of the question pre- 
vented him from giving any satisfactory answer. Long 
before his usual period, he retired to his bed, where he 
passed a night of fevered dreams, restlessness, and misery. 

In the morning, he was still under the operation of his 
apprehension, and was unable to take any breakfast. The 
hostler managed for him all the details of his business, and 
he departed in the same gloomy mood for Pettycur. Saun- 
tering along at a slow pace, he met, half-way between the 
two towns, Duncan Paterson, a Dundee weaver, an old 
acquaintance, by whom he was hailed in the ordinary form 
of salutation ; but he wished to proceed without standing 
to speak to his old friend ; for he was so sorely depressed, 
and was so much afraid of another fearful announcement 
about his sickly appearance, that he could not bear an 
interview. This strange conduct seemed to rouse the 
curiosity of his friend, who, running up to him, held forth 
his hand, crying out 

" Ha ! George, man! this is no like you, to pass auld 
friends. What ails ye, man ?" 



" I dinna feel altogether weel/' answered the carrier, in 
a mournful tone. 

" I saw that, man, lang before ye cam up," replied the 
other; " and it was just because ye were looking so grievously 
ill, that I was determined to speak to ye. When were ye 
seized ?" 

"I was weel when I left the north, yesterday morning ; 
but I hadna been lang on the road, when I began to gie 
tokens o' illness," replied the carrier, mournfully, and with 
a drooping head. 

"_ If I had met you in that waefu state," said the other, 
" with that death-like face and unnatural-like look, I wadna 
have allowed ye to proceed a mile farther ; but now since 
ye're sae far on the road, it's just as weel that ye hurry on 
to Edinburgh, whar ye'll get the best advice. What 
symptoms do ye feel?" 

" I'm heavy and dull," replied George j " my pulse rises 
and fa's, my heart throbs, and my legs hae been shakin 
under me, as if I were palsied." 

" Ah, George, George ! these are a' clear signs o' 
typhus, man," replied Paterson. " My mother died o't. I 
watched, wi' filial care and affection, a' her maist minute 
symptoms. They were just yours. I'm vexed for ye ; hut 
maybe the hand o' a skilfu doctor may avert the usual 
fatal issue." 

" Was yer mitlier lang ill ?" asked George, in a low tone. 

" Nine days," answered Paterson. " By the serenth 
she was spotted like a leopard, on the eighth she went mad, 
and the ninth put an end to her sufferings." 

" Ay, ay," muttered George, with a deep sigh. 

"But the power o' medicine's great," rejoined Paterson. 
" Lose nae time, after ye arrive in Edinburgh, in applying 
to a doctor. Mind my words." 

And Paterson, casting upon him a look suited to the 
parting statement, left the carrier, and proceeded on his 
way. The victim, now completely immerged in melancholy, 
progressed slowly onwards to Pettycur. His downcast 
appearance attracted there the attention of the people who 
assisted him in the discharge of his business. The ques- 
tion " What ails ye, George?" was repeated, and ansAvered 
by silence and a sorrowful look. In the boat in which he 
crossed the Forth, his unusual sadness was also noticed by 
the captain and crew, with whom he was intimately ac- 
quainted. As he sat in the fore-part of the vessel, silent 
and gloomy, they repeated the dreadful question " What 
ails ye, George ?" that had been so often before put to him. 
To some he said, he felt unwell, to others he replied by a 
melancholy stare, and relapsed again into his melancholy. 

When he arrived at Leith, he was assisted, according to. 
custom, by porters, in getting his goods disembarked. The 
men were not long in noticing the great change that had 
taken place upon his spirits " What ails ye, George ?" 
was the uniform question ; and every time it was put, it 
went to his heart, for it shewed more and more, as he 
thought, his sick-like appearance, which seemed to escape 
the eyes of no one. The men assisted him more assiduously 
than they had ever done before ; and, having got everything 
ready, he proceeded up Leith Walk. The toll-man noticed 
also his dejected appearance, and the same question was 
put by him. He proceeded to his quarters, and, committing 
his carts to a man that was in the habit of assisting him, 
he went into the house and threw himself into a chair 
" What ails ye, George ?" exclaimed Widow Gilmour, 
as she saw him, exhibiting these indications of illness. 
He said he felt unwell, and, rising, went away up to 
his bedroom, where he took off his clothes, and retired to 
bed. 

The torture of mind to which he had been exposed for a 
day and a night, and a part of another day, with the want 
of food, and the exercise of his trade, had operated so 
powerfully on his body, that ho was now in reality in a 



TALES OP THE BORDERS. 



fever. The landlady felt his puise, and, becoming alarmed, 
sent for a doctor, a young man, who immediately bled him 
to a much greater extent than was necessary j but the 
statements of George himself, and the fevered appear- 
ance he presented, convinced the young doctor that nothing 
but copious bleeding would overcome the disease. The 
application of the lancet stamped the whole affair with the 
character of reality ; and the sick man, still overcome by 
gloomy anticipations, was soon in the very height of a 
dangerous fever. Two days afterwards, his wife was sent 
for ; but the poor man got gradually worse, and, notwith- 
standing all the efforts of the doctor, was soon pronounced 
to be in a state of imminent danger. One day a man 
called at the house, and inquired, in a flurried manner, at 
Widow Gilmour, how George Skirving was. 

"He is sae ill that I hae very. little hope o' him," said 
the widow. 

" Good God !" replied the man, " is it possible ? I have 
murdered him." And he put his hand on his forehead, and 
groaned in great distress. 

" What !" said the widow, staring at him ; " did ye 
poison him ?" 

" Ay, ay," cried he ; " go and tell Mrs Skirving to come 
to me instantly." And he threw himself on a chair in the 
kitchen. 

Mrs Skirving came down from the sick-bed of her hus- 
band. 

" George is very ill, I understand," cried the man, who 
was James Cowie ; "an* I am the cause o' his illness. It 
was a wager, it was a wager." And he stopped, unable or 
ashamed to proceed. 

" What do ye mean, James ?" answered Mrs Skirving. 

" Six o' us wagered, three against three, and twa to 
one," he proceeded, " that our side wadna put your husband 
to his bea. We met him in Fife, at different places o' the 
road, and terrified him, by describing his looks, into an 
opinion that he was unwell. I'm come to make amends. 
What is the 10 to me when the life o' a fellow creature 
is at jeopardy ? We are a' heartily sorry for our conduct, 
and God grant it mayna yet be owre late to save him !" 

It was too late. We need say no more. The com- 
munication was made to the sick man ; but he was too far 
gone to recover, and died in a fexv days afterwards. This 
is a true tale, and requires little more explanation. It 
may have been gathered from our narrative, that Cowie, 
Willison, and Paterson, were the only persons who were 
in the plot. John Sharpe, Widow M'Murdo, Andrew 
Gemmel, and the others, who merely noticed his dejection, 
were entirely ignorant of the cruel purpose. The poor 
man really appeared to be ill after Cowie's statement to him ; 
uid hence all the inquiries for his health, which contributed 
so powerfully in aid of the scheme. 



THE EMPTY COFFIN. 

THE truth of all the important incidents of the following 
tale, will be recognised by the inhabitants of a certain dis- 
trict of Fife. Our other readers may, and likely will, 
repudiate the extraordinary story as pure fiction ; and such 
is the fate of all narratives that do not record merely the 
every-day incidents of vulgar life; yet no fiction ever 
transcended the workings of nature. 

At about three miles' distance from the little village of 

L in the Kingdom of Fife, there lived a person of 

very great importance, in his way, of the name of John 
M'Whannel. He rented a farm of the laird of Whinny- 
gates, for which he paid a rent altogether inadequate to the 
high value of the land ; but he was a favourite with the 
proprietor, as, indeed, he was with all the people of the 
county, and got his possession at a great undervalue. He 



lived in his farm-house, along with one maid-servant, who 
had been with him for many years, and bore the somewhat 
uncouth name of Jenny Gatherer. Two men assisted him 
with his farm, and lived in an outhouse at a little distance 
from that occupied by the farmer. He had been long in 
the possession of the Mains of Whinnygates, and was re- 
puted to be very wealthy a circumstance which had, 
perhaps, some share, in a certain great authority he exer- 
cised over the minds of his neighbours. 

The most remarkable feature in the character of John 
M'Whannel, was his moral power over mankind. His large 
unwieldy body, a deep hill-preaching species of voice, and 
confirmed Cameronian manners, might have produced their 
wonted effects in his intercourse with his friends, but never 
could have effected the extraordinary subjugation to his 
will, which existed in the minds of almost all his neigh- 
bours. To these personal attributes, he added a strong 
masculine mind, entirely devoted to morals ; and the clear- 
ness of his conceptions enabling him to express himself in a 
straightforward, unhesitating manner and lucid order, he ex 
hibited great power in solving the subtle questions connected 
with the moral relations of man, as well as those more delicate 
matters connected with religion. These bodily and mental 
qualities he had the art of combining, and a stern and 
somewhat dictatorial manner gave a force to the union, 
which, perhaps, contained the great secret of his universal 
authority in that part of the country where he resided. 

With all this explanation, however, and taking into 
account his great size of body and strong mind, . his 
authority over the minds of the people, was remarkable 
and extraordinary. He was made arbiter in all disputes 
and differences occurring for miles round ; and what, per- 
haps, never before rewarded the labours of a judge, he was 
as much respected and beloved by the unfortunate submit- 
ters as he was by those in whose favour he decided the 
points referred to him. The authority of John M'Whannel 
was a guarantee and a passport for every opinion, whether 
sound or unsound ; and, like many other great men, lie was 
doomed to give an involuntary sanction and protection, to 
thousands of statements which never proceeded from his 
lips. 

Remarkable as was this authority over the minds of his 
neighbours, thus exercised by the great man of wisdom, 
it is clear that it was utterly worthless to him in any view, 
save as contributing to his fame ; and, altogether unlike 
ruling elders of the world, John cared no more for fame, qua 
fame, than he did for the breath that blew it through the clam- 
orous trumpet of the noisy goddess. There was, however, a 
certain adjunct or appendage to this universal respect paid 
to his opinions, that pleased him much better than the empty 
sounds of empty adulation. The people had the most 
unbounded confidence in his honesty ; and, as far as respected 
his pecuniary capabilities, the exchequer of the Emperor of 
China, the Capsula gemmaria of the King of Golconda, 
the Bank of England, or any other repository of immense 
wealth, might have given way, but the pecuniary affairs of 
John M'Whannel, regulated by a stern debit and credit, 
and confirmed by the holy religion of the Christian, never 
could become deranged. It very soon, therefore, became 
a practice in the parish where he resided, for poor people 
who had any money which they wished to perserve, or put 
beyond the power of their own temptation, to lodge the same 
in the iron chest of John M'Whannel. He told them all 
that he wanted it not, and that he had thousands he could 
not himself get disposed of, so as to yitld him a return ; 
but, struck to the heart with pity, as he saw improvi- 
dent creatures spending heedlessly that which they ought 
to preserve for their old age, he consented, from a Christian 
principle, to become their savings' bank. He paid them a 
small modicum of interest, merely to induce them to follow 
their own good. Every penny he uaid them was, as he 






TALES OF THE BORDERS, 



himself often told them, almost a dead loss ; for lie scarcely 
turned the capital to any account, in case he might lose the 
poor people's money. It was all placed (at least it was sup- 
posed so) in the great iron chest that lay in his bedroom, 
and the key of which he laid every night beneath his 
pillow, for the sake of the security of the poor creatures, 
whose all thus depended upon his fatherly care. 

This small banking concern, or rather depository, was 
rery far from being limited to a few individuals. Almost 
all the poor people in the county who had anything to 
deposit resorted to the guidman of Whinnygates, and got 
it deposited in " the big iron kist." In a large arm-chair, 
standing beside the strong repository, sat the venerable 
banker; there he received and counted the money, and 
paid at a stated period all the trifles of interest. It 
was a fair and creditable sight. His large senatorial-like 
figure, his grey locks falling a little way down his should- 
ers, his sincere devout visage, his deep Cameronian voice, 
and, above all, the prayer he uniformly delivered for the 
conservation of the cash and the prosperity of the proprietor, 
invested the living picture with attributes that could not 
pass from the minds of those who witnessed it, but with 
life itself. 

It would not be easy to condescend on the number of 
individuals who thus lodged all they had in the world, 
in the hands of the good and godly man ; nor would it 
be of any use. The father who provided for his rising 
children, the son who accumulated something for his aged 
parent, the widow who wished to retain, unbroken, the 
little residue of her husband's means, all confided in the 
saintly John, treasured up their miniature fortunes in the 
redoubted iron chest, and drew, with pride and gratitude, 
their items of interest. The want of the useful institutions 
of savings' banks, in these days, may be supposed to have 
contributed greatly to the extent of this confidence in a 
private individual ; yet it may fairly be affirmed, that John 
M'Whannel would, with fair play, have beat any public in- 
stitution of the kind that chose to rear its head within the 
circle of his power. The directors of a public institution 
could not have been known to the people ; but who, with- 
in ten miles, did not know John M'Whannel ? Directors 
of banks might fail it was impossible that John M'Whannel 
ever could ; they might be dishonest he was beyond suspi- 
cion ; they might die, and where would the money be found ? 
he might also die, but the iron chest^was impenetrable. 

This pleasant intercourse between the good man and his 
creditors went on for a long period. John continued as 
wise as ever ; and his prayers on the occasion of the visits 
of his friends, when they received their interest, were as 
nincere and godly as ever. Stronger and stronger waxed 
his high character for all the eight cardinal virtues enum- 
erated in the old books on Ethics; and, such was the 
mighty accumulation of his praises, that there never lived 
a man in the Kingdom of Fife, who possessed even one 
tithe of the exquisite perfections of John M'Whannel. If 
he had lived in Thibet he would have been the great Lama ; 
if in China, another mighty Fo ; and if in Egypt, the 
sacred bull Apis himself. But human perfections do not 
save the possessors from the common fate of humanity. 
The inhabitants of the three adjoining parishes were 
suddenly thrown into a state of great alarm by a report 
that John M'Whannel was taken ill, and that Gilbert 
M'Whannel, his brother, a writer or attorney from the 
neighbouring town, and possessing all those cardinal virtues 
for which writers are generally remarkable, had been kindly 
paying him attention. It was even said that none but the 
writer was admitted ; and, extraordinary announcement ! 
it was surmised that the man of the law had been actually 
seen sitting upon the iron chest in which the wealth of 
one half of the people of the parish was deposited. 

That such a statement as that last mentioned should 



rouse the parish, no one who has/e// the effects of a writer's 
virtues could be surprised at. Many of the poor people 
accordingly called at the house of their banker; but, what 
was still more surprising, no one was allowed to enter. 
Some attempted to peep in at the window, to see whether 
the writer's incubation was continued, and whether it was 
likely to end, as incubations generally do, in the flight of 
that which undergoes the process. These efforts were also 
unavailing, and the news spread that there was a determina- 
tion, on the part of the writer, to exclude every one from 
the house and presence of their sick idol. Suspicion began 
to grow apace ; whispers grew louder and louder ; and 
a kind of hue and cry was got up and spread like wild- 
fire ^ throughout the parish, producing intense fears and 
anxieties in the breasts of all those whose money was 
deposited in the said iron chest, which was thus supposed 
to be in such imminent danger. 

Several meetings were held by the terrified creditors, 
and it was resolved that a deputation of them should pro- 
ceed and demand an entrance to the presence of the sick 
man ; and, upon receiving admission, cast their eyes about, 
and see if the chest was really in a state of safety*. 

The deputation accordingly proceeded toward the house ; 
but they were met by a stranger, whom they had never 
seen before, who informed them that John M'Whannel had 
just died, and that it would be exceedingly unbecoming in 
them to desecrate the house of the dead by executing the 
purpose they had in view. The statement seemed reason- 
able, and the party separated, upon condition, however, that 
they should severally visit the house, and look at the dead 
body of their old friend, as well as at the iron chest where 
their fortunes were deposited. 

This purpose was accordingly acted upon. Two or three 
of the creditors called, and wished to be shewn " ben the 
house," for the double object already mentioned ; but they 
were again defeated. Jenny Gatherer would allow no one 
to enter the bedroom where the corpse and the chest both 
lay. She proffered every kindness to the visiters usual on 
such occasions shewed them into a parlour, gave them 
something to eat and to drink, and dispatched them with 
the intelligence that, after the funeral, they would find 
everything to their utmost satisfaction. This conduct was 
as extraordinary as the rest ; the people knew not what to 
think ; no one could say he had seen John M'Whannel in 
his sickness, and far less could any one say that he had 
seen his corpse. Speculation began to foster strong sus- 
picions; but no one could conjure up a case sufficient to 
satisfy all the conditions of the story ; and it was at last 
resolved that they should suspend all their acts and in- 
quiries till after the funeral. 

The day of the funeral arrived, and invitations were sent 
to a great number of the inhabitants of the parish. Many 
attended, and not a few who had got no invitation at all. 
They remarked the extraordinary circumstance, that no 
one was invited into the house, as is usual on such occasions. 
The coffin was brought out glittering with its silver facings, 
and exhibiting a large plate on the top, which bore the 
words " John M'Whannel, aged 65 years." It was laid 
upon the spokes, and covered with the black pall, in the 
usual way, and the bearers, followed by the mourners, 
proceeded to the churchyard, where John M'Whannel was 
regularly consigned to his fathers. 

At the funeral there were about twenty of those whose 
money lay consigned in the iron chest in John M'Whannel's 
bedroom. Actuated by the suspicion which had already 
pervaded so many of the people of the parish, these 
individuals were determined not to be baulked by further 
denials and excuses ; and accordingly proceeded, along with 
Gilbert M'Whannel the writer, to the house of the deceased. 
Arriving at the door, they asked no permission to enter; 
but, without ceremony and without fear, rushed in en masse % 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



and never stopped till they arrived at the side of the iron 
chest, where lay enshrined all their hopes of future 
happiness on earth. Every eye was fixed upon it ; and he 
who took upon him the character of spokesman a person 
of the name of John Hamilton demanded the key, that 
they might satisfy themselves of the safety of their pro- 
perty. 

' As my brother's heir and executor," said Gilbert, u I 
might resist this request ; but I am anxious to satisfy 
people in so very peculiar a position as that in which you 
stand ; and, therefore, I will lay open the contents of this 
chest to you, upon the condition, however, that you refrain 
from laying violent hands upon what you may erroneously 
conceive to be your property. A division of my brother's 
effects will afterwards be made, according to law, and every 
one will procure the most ample satisfaction." 

The proposition was reasonable, and at once agreed to. 
The key was produced, and applied to the lock ; the lid 
was lifted up ; and, in place of the money which they con- 
ceived to be there deposited, their eyes met nothing but 
empty space ! Every one started back in amazement. 
The writer alone seemed to be unmoved. After many 
exclamations of wonder, some one proposed to call ben 
Jenny Gatherer, to ascertain if she could tell where the 
contents of the box had been placed. John Hamilton pro- 
ceeded to the kitchen ; but Jenny was not to be seen. 
She had left the house suddenly, some short time before, 
carrying in her hands a bundle, and apparently equipped 
for a long journey. This intelligence added to the mystery, 
and the wonder waxed greater and greater, as their search 
for the money was continued without success. Every 
drawer was opened, and every repository exposed. There 
was no money to be found ; and, what was still more extra- 
ordinary, there was no document discovered to shew that it 
was deposited in a bank, or vested in security, or given in 
loan. The writer declared, upon his honour, that he knew 
nothing of his brother's affairs, and could not tell them 
whether he had left any effects or not. The house, he 
added, was open to them, and they might satisfy themselves 
on every proper subject of curiosity or inquiry, if they con- 
sidered the search they had already made in any way in- 
complete. The creditors, after continuing their search for 
some time longer, left the house in despair ; and, in a short 
time, the additional facts now stated flew, on the wings of 
fame, throughout the whole county producing staring 
eyes, open mouths, and ejaculations, wherever they struck 
the ears of the wondering inhabitants. 

A day or two passed over without any light being thrown 
on the mystery. The brother had retired to the town, and 
Jenny Gatherer was beyond the knowledge of any one. 
Speculation, hitherto so unfruitful, began to shew some 
signs of fruit. The creditors met, and compared notes; and 
the most striking circumstance of the whole affair seemed 
to be the fact that no neighbour had seen John M'Whan- 
nel, either on his sick-bed or in his coffin. The visitors 
had been all refused admittance. The undertaker a 
cousin-german of the deceased's was the only person who 
said he saw the body. He made the coffin with an inner 
case of lead, laid in the body, and performed the operation 
of nailing up. No other person could speak to these facts. 
The cousin's statements were not believed ; and there 
arose a suspicion, which was destined soon to become a 
conviction, that John M'Wiannel was still alive, and that 
the ceremony of the funeral was a hoax, resorted to for 
some nefarious purpose. This suspicion gained ground 
every hour after it was elicited, and obtained so many pro- 
selytes that it was resolved to put it to the test, by opening 
the grave and examining the coffin. This purpose was 
almost immediately put into execution. A large party 
repaired to the bury ing-ground ; the grave was opened; 
the coffin taken out and examined. There was no John 



M'Whannel there ! As the iron chest had been found empty 
so the coffin contained nothing but a leaden case ! 

The affair seemed now as clear as the sun at twelve 
o'clock. John M'Whannel had eloped, and Jenny Gatherer, 
the baggage, had gone after him. The funeral had been 
got up for the purpose of screening the perpetrators from 
the vengeance of a host of ruined creditors. All the facts 
quadrated with this opinion ; and it became so general 
that there was scarcely one in the parish that doubted ol 
it. Lawyers were consulted, and the general opinion 
seemed to be, that Gilbert M'Whannel had made himself 
liable to a prosecution for aiding and abetting his brother 
in accomplishing his scheme of deception. Even the 
writers were almost cheated into the belief that old John 
M'Whannel had run the country with a young woman, 
and taken with him all the poor people's money in the parish. 

It never occurred to the quick-sighted money-lenders, 
that there were such individuals as resurrectionists. The 
coffin had, in fact, been spoiled of its contents, and John 
M'Whannel was at that very time lying quietly, honest man, 
on the dissecting table of a surgeon in Edinburgh. Neither 
did it ever occur to them that all the circumstances of the 
supposed secrecy connected with John's sickness arid death, 
together with the flight of Jenny Gatherer, might have 
been accounted for, by the simple fact that the writer 
had resolved upon emptying the iron chest, and had 
actually done so. Jenny had been bribed to take herself 
out of the way, and the people were excluded, for fear 
they might lay violent hands on the precious repository. 
The belief, that John M'Whannel was not dead, still re- 
mained, and William Steedman, a writer, was requested 
to call upon Gilbert M'Whannel, for satisfaction. 

" I am sorry to think, Mr M'Whannel," said he, " that 
you have made yourself responsible for the debts of your 
brother." 

" I beg your pardon, Mr Steedman," replied Gilbert. 
" I am his heir ; but I never intromitted with his effects. 
Everything remains in his house as it was left by him." 

" The creditors conceive," said Mr Steedman, ic that the 
alleged death and funeral of your brother, was a mere 
device to cover his flight from the country." 

" Indeed !" replied Gilbert, in apparent wonder ; " how 
do you arrive at that extraordinary conclusion ?" 

" The coffin has been examined," answered Mr Steed- 
man, " and no body has been found in it ; the servant has 
eloped ; and the only man who says he saw the body, is 
your cousin, the undertaker." 

Gilbert paused, and meditated. 

" I'll tell ye, what, Mr Steedman," said he, at last, in 
his simplest style of speech ; "-prove ye that my brother 
hashed, and that the funeral was a hoax, and I'll pay his 
debts." 

" I must frankly own that I cannot," replied the other, 
" No one has seen his body, alive." 

"Weel, weel, I'll tell ye what, Mr SteedmaH," said 
Gilbert, again, with great simplicity; " prove ye that my 
brother is dead, and that I took his siller, and I'll pay his 
debts." 

" Neither can I do that, I fear," replied the other ; " for 
no one, ( save your cousin, who will not be believed,) has 
seen his dead body." 

" Very weel, then," rejoined Gilbert, laughing, and 
twinkling his cunning grey eye, " if ye can prove neither 
that he's fled nor that he's dead, I see nae richt ye hae to 
wear the brass knocker o' my door, on sae fruitless an errand 
as that which brocht ye here this day." 

The poor people still adhered to the opinion that old 
John M'Whautiel would one day cast up and thus were 
they cheated. The writer took advantage of the coffin 
being found as empty as the kist ; and, out of the two 
negatives, made a very good positive. 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



THE MISER'S WILL 

THE following tale is in substance absolutely true. The 
individual who performed the feat is 2li.U living ; and, while 
we cannot wish him much joy of his ill-won gear, we can- 
not but admire the dexterity with which it was acquired. 
In the little town of Maybole there lived, some fifty years 
ago or more, an old man of the name of George Rorieson, 
more commonly called Laird Rorieson. He had been a 
kind of general merchant, or trafficker in any kind of 
commodities which he thought would yield him a profit ; 
and, by dint of great sagacity, had made some very fortunate 
hits, and realized a large sum of money. Having begun 
the world with a penny, he was emphatically the maker of 
his own fortunes a circumstance he was very proud of, 
and loved to sound in the ears of certain individuals who 
envied him his riches. Having amassed his money by 
an accumulation of small sums, for a long course of years, 
he had gradually become narrower and narrower, as his 
wealth increased ; and, by the time he arrived at the age of 
sixty, his penurious feelings had become so strong and deep- 
rooted that he could scarcely afford himself the means of a 
eomfortable subsistence. 

It is almost needless to say that Laird Rorieson never 
had courage or liberality of sentiment sufficient to give him 
an impulse towards matrimony j and; truly, it was alleged 
that he never even looked on womankind with any feel- 
ings different from those with which he contemplated his 
fellow-creatures generally ; and these had always some con- 
nection, one way or another, with making profit of them. 
But, though he had no wife, he had a good store of nephews 
nnd nieces somewhere about twenty all poor enough, God 
knows ! but all as hopeful as brides and bridegrooms of a 
great store of wealth and bliss being awaiting them on the 
death of Uncle Geordie. 

The affection which these twenty nephews and nieces 
shewed to Uncle George was remarkable ; but, somehow 
or another, the good uncle hated them mortally, and the 
bitterer he became, the more loving they waxed so that it 
was very wonderful to see so much human love and 
sympathy thrown away upon an old churl who could have 
seen all the devoted creatures at the devil. 

It was indeed alleged that this crabbed miser had no 
love for any one, all his affection being expended upon his 
money-bags ; but we are bound to say that this is not quite 
the truth ; for there was a neighbour of the name of Saunders 
Gibbieson, a bachelor, for whom the laird really felt some 
small twinges of human kindness. Saunders Gibbieson 
<vas as true a Scotchman as ever threw the pawky glamour 
of a twinkling grey eye over the open face of an English 
victim. He was, as already said, a bachelor ; but, unlike 
his friend Geordie, he loved the fair sex, and vowed he 
would marry the bonniest lass o' Maybole the moment he 
was able to sustain her " in bed, board, and washing." He 
had scraped together a few pounds, maybe to the extent 
of a hundred or two, and looked forward to making himself 
happy at no very distant period. He was a famous hand 
at a political argument ; and there Avas not a man in May- 
bole who could touch him at driving a bargain. 

As already said, Geordie had a kind of feeling towards 
Saunders, and there can be no doubt that Saunders had as 
strong an affection for the " auld rich grub," as he called 
him in his throat, as ever had any one of the twenty 
nephews and nieces already alluded to. In the evenings 
he often went in and sat with him ; and, by dint of curious 
jokes, " humorous lees/' and political anecdotes, he con- 
trived to wile, for a few minutes, the creature's heart from 
his money-bags, and unbend his puckered cheeks and lips 
into a species of compromise between a laugh and a grin. 
It was no wonder, then, that Geordie had a kind of liking 



for Saunders seeing he got value in amusement from him, 
without so much cost as even a piece of old dry cheese, or 
a waught of thin ale. On the other hand, it was difficult to 
see how Saunders could love the laird ; and, indeed, it was 
a matter of gossip what could induce a man so much in re- 
quest as Saunders Gibbieson to take so much pains in pour- 
ing into the "leather lugs" of an old miser the precious 
jokes that would have set the biggest table in Mavbole in a 
roar. 

Now the time came when Laird Rorieson began to feel 
the first touches of that big black angel who loves to hug 
so fondly the sons of men. He was ill he was indeed very 
ill and it would have done any man's heart good to see the 
kindness and sympathy which his twenty nephews and 
nieces paid him. Every hour one or other of them was 
calling at his house; and his ears were regaled by the 
sympathetic tones which their love for their dear uncle 
wrung from their tender hearts. Oh, it was beautiful to 
behold ! Such things do credit to our fallen nature. But 
the old grub loved it not ; and it was even said he cursed 
and swore in the very faces of the kind creatures, just as if 
they had had an eye on the heavy coffers of gold that lay 
in his house. This kindness on the part of his nephews 
and nieces was thus converted into a kind of poison ; for 
every time they called, their uncle got into such, a passion 
that his remaining strength was well-nigh worn out. But 
he had still enough left to sign his name ; and the ungrate- 
ful creature resolved upon leaving all his gold to found an 
hospital. He sent for a man of the law, and had a con- 
sultation with locked doors, and all things seemed in a fail- 
way for the poor nephews and nieces being sacrificed for 
ever. 

This circumstance came to the ears of Saunders Gibbie- 
son, who had not been an unattentive spectator of the ex- 
traordinary proceedings going on in the house of his neigh- 
bour. As soon as he heard the news, he retired and medi- 
tated, and communed with himself three hours on matters 
of deep concernment to him and the generations that 
might descend from him. The result of all this study was 
a resolution alike remarkable for its eccentricity and 
sagacity ; but Saunders' spirit dipped generally so deep in 
the wells of wisdom that there was no Avonder it should 
come forth drunk, as it were, with the golden policy of 
cunning. 

Now, all of a sudden, Saunders grew (as he. said) very 
ill as ill indeed, or nearly as ill, as Laird Rorieson himself; 
but, so full was he of brotherly love towards his neighbour, 
that his sudden illness did not prevent him calling upon the 
latter, one night, when there seemed to be no great chance 
of their being disturbed by any of the sympathetic nephews 
and nieces. He found Geordie very weakly, and sat down 
by the bedside, to pour the balm of his friendship and con- 
solation into the sick man's ear. The Laird received him 
kindly, and, as was his custom, Saunders got him into a 
pleasant humour, by telling him something of a curious 
nature that had occurred, or had been supposed by 
Saunders to have occurred, during the day. He then be- 
gan the more important part of his work. 

" You are ill, Laird/' said he ; " but I question muckle 
if ye're sae ill as I am myself. For a long time I've been 
in a dwinin way, and, though I hae kept up a fair appearance 
and good spirits, I've been gradually getting thinner and 
weaker. I fear I'm in a fair way for anither warld." 

" I'm sorry to hear't," replied the Laird. " It's a 
sad thing to dee." And he shdok as he uttered the word. 

" Ay, an' it's a sad thing," said Saunders, " to be tor- 
mented in your illness, wi' thae cursed corbies o' puir rela- 
tions. The.mornent I began to complain I've been tormented 
wi' a host o' nephews and nieces, wha come and stare into my 
hollow een, as if they would count the draps o' blude that 
are yet left in my heart." 



88 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



(t Ay, ay, are you in that plight too, Saunders," groaned 
the Laird. "The ravens have been croaking owre me for 
twa lang years. They come and perch on the very bed- 
posts, they croak, they whet their nebs, they look into my 
face, and peer into my very heart. It's dreadful and 
there's nae remedy. I've tried to terrify them awa ; but 
they come aye back again. They've worn me fairly 

out." 

I've had many a meditation on the subject, Laird," said 
Saunders ; " and, between you and me, if there's a goose 
quill in a Scotland, I'll hae a shot at them. I haena 
muckle i' the warld a thousand or twa maybe, hard won 
Geordie, as a' gowd is in thae hard times ; but the deil a 
plack o't they'll ever touch." 

Ye'll be tx found an hospital ?" said the Laird. 

" Na, na," answered Saunders. " I'll found nae beggar's 
palace. I've studied political economy owre lang to be 
ignorant o' the bad effects o' public charities. They relax 
the sinews o' industry., and mak learned mendicants. Be- 
sides, wha thanks the founder o' an hospital for his charity ? 



! nane ! A puff or twa in the newspapers about 
Gibbieson's mortification would be the hail upshot o' 
my reward ; and sensible folk would set me doun as an 
auld curmudgeon, wha hadna heart to love and benefit a 
friend." 

" There's some truth in that," muttered the Laird. ' It's 
a pity a body canna tak his gear wi' him. Sair hae I 
toiled for it, and, oh ! it's miserable ! cruel ! cruel ! that I 
should be obliged to leav't to a thankless warld ! But 
what are ye to do wi't, Saunders ?" 

" Indeed, I'm just to leave it a' to you, Laird," said 
Saunders. " I have lang liked ye wi' a' the luve o' honest, 
leal friendship ; and, after muckle meditation, I canna fix 
on a mortal creature wha is mair deservin o't than you, 
my guid auld freend. You have a fair chance o' recover- 
ing ; I have nane. Ye may enjoy my gear lang after the 
turf has grown thegither owre my grave ; and God bless 
the gift !" 

" Kind, guid man !" cried the Laird, in a voice evincing 
strong emotion, either of love or greed. " That is kind- 
ness ay, very different frae the friendship o' my sisters' 
and brothers' bairns. After a', I believe yer richt, Saunders 
an hospital has nae gratitude ; and what have we to do 
wi' a cauld and heartless warld ?" 

" There's just ae difficulty I hae," said Saunders. " The 
will's written and signed ; but I dinna weel ken whar to 
lay it ; for, when I'm dead, thae deevils o' corbies may smell 
the bit paper and put it in the fire. Maybe you would tak 
the charge o't for me, Laird." 

" Ou ay," answered the laird. " I'll keep it. The 
deil o' ane o' them will get it oot o' my clutches." 

" Weel, weel, my dear friend," said Saunders. " I'll put 
it into a tin box ; the key ye'll find, after my breath's out, 
in the little cupboard that's at the foot o' my bed ye ken 
the place. They can mak naething o' the key without the 
box ; and, if you canna find the key, you can force the box 
open. Oh, I would like to see you reading the will in the 
midst o' the harpies." 

" That's weel arranged, Saunders ; ye can set about] it as 
soon as you like." 

" I intend to do it instantly, Laird," replied the man. 
" I'll about it this moment." And he rose and went out of 
the house. 

In a short time, Saunders returned, holding in his hand 
a small tin box. He laid it down upon the table, and, 
taking out a small key, opened it, and took out a paper, 
entitled " Last Will and Testament." 

" There it is, my good friend," he said ; and, replacing 
the paper in the box, he locked it and placed it in an 
escrutoire pointed out by the Laird. He then went away. 

Next day* the lawyer came to carry into effect the 



charitable resolution of Laird Roricson ; but he found that 
a great change had taken place upon the old man's senti- 
ments. He was now adverse to a mortification, and said 
he was resolved upon leaving his fortune to one whom he 
considered to be a real friend-, and, indeed, the only real 
friend he had upon earth. The lawyer was surprised when 
he ascertained that this friend was Saunders Gibbieson ; 
but it was not his province to object so he departed straight- 
way to carry into effect the new resolution of the testator. 

Two days afterwards, the laird sent a message to Saun- 
ders to come and speak with him. Saunders obeyed; 
walking in to him slowly, and apparently with great effort, 
as if he had been labouring under a strong disease. 

" I have been thinking again and again, Saunders," said 
the Laird, " o' your great kindness. You are the first man 
that ever left me a farthing. The warld has rugged aff 
me, since ever I had a feather to pick. Nane has ever 
offered me either a bite or a sup. You are the only 
friend I've ever met upon earth." 

" I hae only obeyed the dictates o' my heart," replied 
Saunders ; " and I'm glad I have dune it, for I feel mysel 
very weakly, and fear the clock o' this warld's time will be 
wound up wi' me in a very short period." 

" Maybe no so sune as ye think, Saunders," replied the 
laird. " But my purpose is executed. Saunders, you are my 
heir. Hand me that box there." 

Saunders took up a small mahogany box that lay on the 
table, and handed it to him. 

" Here," continued the laird taking out a paper ; " here 
is my will. It's a' in your favour, Saunders lands, houses, 
guids, and chattels, heritable and movable. Say naething ; 
you are my heir. Ha ! ha ! let the corbies croak. You've 
dune me a guid service ; I winna be ahint ye. Tak the 
box into yer ain keeping. I'll keep the key. Awa wi't 
this instant. Ha ! ha ! let the corbies croak." 

Saunders obeyed. He carried the box into his own 
house, placed it in his cupboard, locked the door, and put 
the key into his pocket. 

In about a month afterwards, old Laird Rorieson de- 
parted this life. On the day of his death, his nephews 
and nieces were in great commotion, and there was a 
terrible running to and fro, and much whispering, and 
wondering, and gossiping all on the great subject of the 
death of Uncle Geordie. On the day of his funeral, they 
were all collected, to see whether there was any will. They, 
of course, wished that there should be none, because they, 
being his heirs, would succeed to all, if there was no disposi- 
tion of the old man's effects. The little box was broken 
open in their haste, and, lo! there was indeed a paper, bearing 
the fearful word " Will," and the faces of the heirs turned 
as pale as the paper itself. It was opened ; but it was a 
fair, clean sheet of paper, and not a drop of ink had stained 
its purity. " All safe, all safe," muttered the heirs. 

" Here is another box," said Saunders Gibbieson, holding 
up the mahogany one ; " let us try it." And he opened it, 
and took out Geordie's will. The writer read it aloud. 
Saunders was sole heir to all the old miser's possessions, 
amounting to 20,000. No one could tell the reason why 
there were two papers marked " will," and one of them a 
blank sheet ; and Saunders, simple man, did not trouble 
himself to give any explanation. 




WILSON'S 



anfe 



ALES OF THE BORDERS, 

AND OF SCOTLAND. 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF WILLIE SMITH. 

IF I thocht the world wad tak the least iuterest in the 
matter, I wad tell it the where au' the whey o' my birth, 
in conformity wi' auld use an' wont in the case o' bio- 
graphical sketches ; but, takin it for granted that the 
world cares as little about me as I care about it an', Gude 
kens, that's little aneuch, thanks to the industry o' my 
faither, that made me independent o't ! I shall merely 
say, wi' regard to the particulars aboon alluded to, that I 
was born in a certain thrivin, populous bit touny in the 
south, an' that I am, at this present writin, somewhat aulder 
than I was yesterday. I dinna choose to be mair particular 
on the point, because I dinna see that my age has onything 
mair to do wi' my story, than the ages o' witnesses hae wi' 
their evidence. Bein born in the usual way, in the usual 
way was I christened (A.nglic^ baptised ;) but her eon 
hangs a tale, or rather a dizzen o' them. My father's name 
was Willie Smith, my paternal grandfather's name was 
Willie Smith, I had an uncle whase name was Willie Smith, 
an' twa cousins whase names were Willie Smith ; an' it 
was determined that I should be a Willie Smith too, in 
order, I suppose, to mak sure o' perpetuatin that very rare 
an' euphonious family name. But, oh, that they had ca'ed 
me Nebuchadnezzar, or Fynmackowl, or Chrononhoton- 
thologos, or ony name in the sma'est degree distinctive, 
an' no that confounded ane, that seems to me to belang to 
every third man I meet wi' I It wad hae saved me a world 
o' misery, an' disappointment, an' sufferin o' a' sorts. It's 
just incredible the mischief that simple circumstance has 
wrought me I mean, the ca'in me Willie Smith. It may 
appear, I dare say, a harmless aneuch thing to you, guii 
reader, but, my feth, ca' ye yersel Willie Smith just for 
ae twelvemonth, an' ye'll find it's nae such joke as ye may 
think, especially if there be half-a-dizzen o' Willie Smiths 
leevin in the same street wi' ye ; whilk is a' but certain to 
be the case, gang to where ye like. I ken I could never 
get oat o' their neighbourhood, an' mony a shift an' change 
I hae made for that express purpose. I maun confess, how- 
ever, that the name's naa'thegither without its advantages. 
Mony a scrape I hae got skaithless opt o', when -I was a 
boy, in consequence o* its frequency. In the first schule 
I was at, there war three Willie Smiths, besides me, an' it 
was thus almost impossible, in many cases, to ascertain 
which was the real delinquent when mischief had been 
perpetrated ; an' the result was, that the wrang Willie 
Smith was as often punished as the richt ane ; but, as I, of 
course, was frequently in the farmer predicament, I am no 
sure that, if the account were fairly balanced, I wad be 
found to hae been a great gainer after a'. Latterly, how- 
ever, I certainly was not ; for the maister, findin the d.'ffi- 
cnlty o' distinguishin between the Smiths, an' that the 
course o' justice was thus interrupted, at last adopted the 
sure plan o' whippin a' the Willie Smiths thegither, when- 
ever any one o' the unfortunate name was charged wi' ony 
transgression. We were thus incorporated, as it were, 
rolled into one, and dealt wi' accordingly, in a' cases o' 
punishment. 

JVly schule davs owre, I be^an the world in the capacity 
1G8. Vol. IV 



o shopman to my faither, wha was a hosier to business, 
and earned on a sma', but canny tredd in that line, lie 
wasna to ca' wealthy, but he was in easy aneuch circum- 
stances, an' had laid by a trifle, which was intended for 
me, his only son an' heir. I was now in my twentieth 
year, the heyday of youth ; an', why should I hesitate to 
say it, a sensible, judicious, well-meanin, an' good-lookin 
lad, but (I hesitate to say this, though) wi' a great deal 
mair sentiment in my nature than was at a' necessary for 
a hosier.. How I had come by it, Heaven knows; but so 
it was. I was fu o' romance* an' fine feelin^ an' a' that 
sort o' thing, an' wi' a heart most annoyingly susceptible 

the tender passion. It was just like tinder, as somebody 
has said I think it was Burns catched fire in an instant. 
For some time, however, as is the case with most youths, 

1 dare say, my love was general, and was pretty equally 
divided amongst all the young and good-looking of the 
other sex whom I happened to see or to meet wi'; but it 
at length concentrated, an* dwelt on one object alone 
(this was a case Q' Ipve at first sicht) a beautiful an 
amiable girl, wha attended the same kirk in which I sat. 
I hadna the slightest personal acquaintance wi' her, nor 
ony access to her society ; but this didna hinder me adorin 
her in my secret heart, nor prevent rne puttin doon stocking 
to customers, whan they asked for nichtcaps, In short, 
before I kent whar I was, I was plump owre head an' ears 
in love, distractin lo,ve, wi' my fair enslaver, an' rendered 
useless baith to mysel an' every ither body. Never did 
the tender passion so engross, so absorb the feelins an 
faculties o' a human bein, as it did those o' me, Willie 
Smith the hosier, on this occasion. I wa.s absolutely 
beside mysel, an' felt as if livin an' breathin in a world o' 
my ain- This continued for several months; an' yet, 
during all that time, I had remained content wi' worshippin 
the object o' my adoration at a distance, an' that only on 
Sundays, for I rarely saw her through the week. Whan I 
said, however, that I was content wi' this state o' matters, 
I am no sure that I hae said precisely what was true. 
Had I said that I lacked courage to mak ony nearer ad- 
vances, I wad, perhaps, hae expressed mysel fully mair 
correctly. This was, in fact, the case ; I couldna muster 
fortitude aneuch to break the ice, an' yet I didna want en 
couragement cither. My fair captivator soon discovered 
the state o' my feelins regardin her, as she couldna but do, 
for my een war never atf her, an' my looks war charged 
wi' an expression that was easily aneuch interpreted. She, 
therefore at least I thocht sae kent perfectly weel how 
the laun lay; an' if I didna mak a guid use o' the impression 
I had made in my turn for this, I thocht I saw too, in 
sundry little nameless things the faut was my ain, as I 
didna want such encouragement as a modest an' virtuous 

irl could, under the circumstances, haud oot to a lover, 
he looked wi' an interest on me, which she couldna con- 
ceal whanever we met, an' I frequently detected the corner 
o' her bright blue eye turned towards me in the kirk. Often, 
also, have I seen her sittin in melancholy abstraction, when 
she should hae been listenin to the minister ; but could / 
blame her, whan she was thinkin o' me ? Of that, from 
all I could see an' mark, I was satisfied. 

At length, unable to endure the distraction o' my feelins 



90 



TALES OF THE BORDERS 



ianger, and cncourag< 4 by the wee symptoms o' reciprocal 
affection which I had marked in my enslaver, assuring me 
o' my being on pretty safe ground, I cam to the desperate 
resolution o' makin a decisive move in the business. I 
resolved to write my behoved ; to confess my passion, and 
to beg that she would allow me to introduce myself to her. 
This resolution, however, I fand it much easier to adopt 
than to execute. There was a faint-heartedness aboot me 
that I couldna get the better o' ; and a score o* sheets o' 
paper perished in the attempts I made to concoct something 
suitable to the occasion. At length, I succeeded ; that is, 
I accomplished such a letter as I felt convinced I couldna 
surpass, although I wrought at it for a twelvemonth. 

Havin faulded this letter, which I did wi' a tremblin 
band and palpitatin heart, I clapt it into my pocket-book, 
whar it lay for three days, for want o' courage to dispatch 
it, and, in some sort, for want o' opportunity too ; for if I 
sent it by the post, there was a danger o't fa'in into the 
hands o' Lizzy's faither Lizzy Barton bein the name o' 
my enthral ler ; and there was naebody else that I could 
think o' employin in the business. At length, however, I 
determined to dispatch it at a' hazards. There was a wee 
bit ragged, smart, intelligent laddie, that used to be con- 
stantly playing at bools aboot oor shop-door, and whom we 
sometimes sent on bits o' sma' messages through the toun ; 
and on him I determined to devolve the important mission 
of delivering my letter. Accordingly, ae day when my 
faither was oot, and naebody in the shop but mysel 

" Jock," cried I, wagging the boy in, " come here a 
minnit." Jock instantly leaped to his feet for he was on 
his knees, most earnestly engaged in plunkin, at the mo- 
ment and, cramrr.in a handfu o' bools into his pocket, was. 
in a twinklin, before roe ; when, wipin his nose wi' the 
sleeve o' bis jacket, and looking up in my face as he spoke 

" What's yer wull, sir?" said Jock, 

" Do ye ken Mr Barton's, Jock ?" said I. 

" Brawly, sir," replied Jock. 

" Weel, Jock, my man," continued I, but wi' a degree o' 
trepidation that I had great difficulty in concealin frae the 
boy, " tak this letter, and go to Mr Barton's wi't, and 
rap canny at the door, and ask if Miss Barton's in. If 
she's in, ask a word o' her ; and, when she comes, slip this 
letter into her haun. If she's no in, bring back the letter 
to me, and let naebody see't. Mind it's for Miss Bar Ion, 
Jock, and nae ane else. Sae ye maunna be paveein't 
aboot, but keep it carefully hidden under yer jacket, till ye 
see Miss Barton hersel ; then whup it oot, and slip it into 
her hand, that way ;" and here I fugled the proper motion 
to Jock. "Noo, Jock," I continued, "if ye go through 
this job correctly and cleverly, I'll gie ye a saxpence." 
Jock's eyes glistened wi' delight at the magnificence o' the 
promised reward, so far transcending what he had been 
accustomed to receive. He wad hae thocht himsel hand- 
somely paid wi' a ha'penny, and wad hae run sax miles 
ony day for a penny. 

Having dispatched Jock, after secin the letter carefully 
buttoned up inside his jacket, I waited his return wi' a pain- 
fulness o' suspense, and intensity o' feelin, that I wad rather 
leave to the reader's imagination, than attempt to describe. 
It was most distressin most agitatin. At length, Jock ap- 
peared I mean in the distance. My heart began to beat 
violently. He bounced into the shop ; my trepidation be- 
came excessive; my knees trembled; my lips grew as 
white as paper ; I could hardly speak. At last 
" Jock," said I, wi' a great effort, " did ye see her ?" 
" Yes," said Jock, " and I gied her the letter." 
' And what did she say ?" 
' She asked wha it was frae." 
' And ye tell't her ?" 

4 And what did she say then >" 



" She just leugh, pleased-like ; and her face grew red, 
and she stappit it in her bosom, and said. ' Vera weel. mj 
man :' and syne shut the door." 

Oh, what pen could describe the feelins o' joy, o* tran- 
sport, that were mine at this ecstatic moment ! She had 
smiled wi' delight on hearin my name ; she had blushed 
when my letter was put into her hands ; and she had put 
that letter oh, delicious thought ! into her bosom. The 
proof o' her love was conclusive. There was nae mis- 
takin what were her feelins towards me. Jock's artlesf 
talc had put that beyond a' doct. I was noo put nearly dis- 
tracted wi' joy. But, if the merely gracious reception ot 
my letter was capable o' inspirin me wi' this feelin, what 
degree o' happiness could be imparted by a reply to it, 
and that o' the most favourable kind ? (It could be ascer- 
tained by the Rule o' Three.) That degree o' happiness, 
whatever it is, was bestowed on me. In the course of the 
ensuing day, I received the following sweet billet by the 
postman, written by Lizzy's own dear hand : 

" Miss Barton presents her compliments to Mr Smith, 
and will be happy of his company to tea, to-morrow even- 
ing, at six o'clock." 

Oh, hoo I noo langed for the " to-morrow evenin at six 
o'clock !" And yet I trembled at its approach, wi' an unde- 
fined, but overwhelmin feelin o' mingled love and shame, 
and hope and fear. It was just what I may ca' a delight- 
fully painfu' predicament. Regardless, however, o' my 
feelins, the appointed hour cam round, and, whan it did, it 
saw me dressed in my best, and, wi' a flutterin heart, 
stan'in at Lizzy's faither's door, wi' the knocker in my hand. 
I knocked. 1 heard a movement o' the sneck behind. 
The door opened, and my angel stood before me. I smiled 
and blushed intensely, without sayin a word. Miss Barton 
stared at me wi' a look o' cauld, composed surprise. At 
length 

" Miss Barton," I stammered oot, " I am come, accord- 
ing to your invitation, to" 

" My invitation, sir !" said Miss Barton, noo a little con- 
fused, an' blushin in her turn. " What invitation ? I 
haena the pleasure o' ony acquaintance wi' ye, sir. Ye're 
a perfect stranger to me." 

*' I houp no a'thegither, Miss Barton," replied I, makin 
an abortive attempt at a captivatin smile. " I took the 
liberty o' addressin a letter to ye yesterday ; an' here's yer 
invitation on the back o't," continued I, an' noo puttin he! 
ain card into her hands. The puir lassie looked confounded 
an', in great agitation, said 

" Oh, sir, it's a mistak ! I'm so sorry. It's an entira 
mistak on my part. Ver'e no the person at a" I meant. I 
thocht the letter was frae anither gentleman a different 
person a'thegither. It's the name has misled me. I am really 
so sorry." An' she curtsied politely to me, an' shut the door. 

Ay, hero, then, was a pretty dooncome to a' my air-built 
castles o' love an' happiness ! It was a mistak, was it ? a 
mistak ? I wasna the person at a' ! She thocht the letter 
was frae anither gentleman a'thegither ! An', pray, wha was 
this gentleman ? A' that, an' a deal mair, I subsequently 
fand oot. The gentleman was n certain Willie Smith a 
young, guid-lookin fallow, wha sat in the same kirk wi' us, 
an' between whom an' Lizzy there had lang existed the 
telegraphic correspondence o' looks, an' smjles, an' sighs, 
an' blushes in fact, just such a correspondence as I had 
carried on mysel, wi' this important difference, however, 
that it wasna a' on ae side, as it noo appeared it had been 
in my case. The other Willie Smith's returns were real, 
while mine were only imaginary. I needna enlarge on the 
subject o' my feelins under this grievous an' heart-rendin 
disappointment. It will be aneuch to say that it pat me 
nearly beside mysel, an' that it was amaist a hale week 
before I tasted a morsel o' food o' ony kind. I was in a sad 
; state ; but time, that cures a' ills, at length cured mij;e, too. 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



91 



altnongh it didna remove my regret that a name so unhap- 
pily frequent as Willie Smith had ever been bestowed on me. 
llavin already described mysel as bein o' a susceptible 
nature, an" bein at this time in the prime o' youth, it winna 
surprise the reader to learn that I soon after this fell in 
love a second time. The object o' my affections, on this 
occasion, was a pretty girl, whom I met wi' at the hoose 
o' a mutual freen. She was a stranger in oor toun, an' 
had come frae Glasgow o' which city she was a native 
on a short visit to a relation. The acquaintance which I 
formed wi' this amiable creature soon ripened into the 
inaist ardent affection, an' I had every reason, very early, 
to believe that my love was returned. The subsequent 
progress of our intimacy established the delightful fact. 
We eventually stood on the footin o' avowed, an' all but 
absolutely betrothed lovers. Soon after this, Lucy Craig, 
which was the name of my beloved, returned to Glasgow, 
but not before we had settled to maintain a close and regu- 
lar correspondence. 

The correspondence wi' Lucy, to which I hae alluded, sub- 
sequently took place; an', for several months durin which 
I had made, besides, twa or three runs to Glasgow, to see 
her mony a sweet epistle passed between us epistles fu' 
o' lowin love, an' sparklin hopes, an' joy. I may as 
weel here remark, too, that, on the occasions o' my visits to 
Lucy, I was maist cordially an' kindly received by her 
mother a fine, decent, motherly body, an' a widow Lucy's 
faither bavin died several years before. A weel, as I said, 
s>or correspondence went on closely an' uninterruptedly ; 
but I maun noo add, wi' a restriction as to time, an' say 
for aboot five months, at the end o' which time it suddenly 
ceased, on the pairt o' Lucy, a'thegither. She was due me 
a letter at the time ; for I had written three close on the 
back o'.euch other, which were yet unanswered. In the 
greatest impatience an' uneasiness, I first waited ae week, 
an' then antther, an' anither, an' anither, till they ran up to 
aboot six, whan, unable langer to thole the misery which 
her seemin negligence, or it micht be something waur, had 
created, I determined on puttin my fit in the coach, an' 
gaun slap richt through mysel, to ascertain the cause o' her 
extraordinary silence. To this proceedin that is, my gaun 
to Glasgow I was further induced by anither circumstance. 
There was a mercantile hoose there, wi' which my faither 
had dealt for twenty years, an' which had gotten, frae first 
to last, mony a thoosan pounds o' his money a' weel an' 
punctually paid. Noo, it happened that, twa or three days 
before this, my faither had dispatched an order to this 
hoose for a fresh supply o' guids, whan, to oor inexpressible 
amazement, we received, instead o' the guids, a letter 
plumply refusin ony further credit, an' demandin, under a 
threat o' immediate prosecution, payment o' oor current 
account "ir.ountin to aboot 150. To us this "'as a most 
extraordinary affair, an' wholly inexplicable, an' we re- 
solved to know what it meant, by personal application to 
the firm. This, then, was anither purpose I had to serve 
in gaun to Glasgow, to which I accordingly set oot, wi' the 
folk's hunner-an'-fifty pounds in my pocket. 

On arrivm in the city just named, my first ca', of course, 
was on Lucy. But this wasna accomplished withoot a 
great deal o' previous painfu feelin. It was twa or three 
minutes before I could rap. At length I raised the 
knocker, an' struck. Lucy opened the door. She stared 
wildly at me, for a second, an' then, utterin a scream, ran 
into the house, exclaimin, distractedly "O James, James ! 
mother, mother ! here's Mr Smith's ghost !" And she 
screamed again more loudly than ever, an' flung herself on 
sofa, in a violent fit o' hysterics. 

Here, then, was a pretty reception. I was coniounded, 
but stepped leisurely into the hoose, after Lucy, whom I 
found extended on the sofa, an' her mother an' a strange 
feutleman beside her a stranger to me at least endea- 



vour! n to soothe her, and calm her violence. On the 
mother, my presence seemed to hae nearly as extraordi- 
nary an effect as on the dochter. Whan I entered the 
room, she, too, set up a skirl, and fled as far back frae me 
as the apartment wad admit, exclaiming 

" Lord be aboot us, Mr Smith ! is that you ? Can it be 
possible ? Are ye in the body, or are ye but a wanderiu 
spirit ? Lord hae a care o' us, are ye really an' truly 
leevin, Mr Smith ?" 

" Guid folks," said I, as calmly as I could, in reply to 
this strange rhapsody, " will y e be sae kind as tell me 
what a' this means ?" An' I first locked at the dochter, wha 
was still lyin on the sofa, wi' her face buried wi' fricht in 
the cushions, an' then at the mother, wha was sittin in a 
chair, starin at me, an' gaspin for breath, but noo evidently 
satisfied that I was at least nae ghaist. 

" Means, Mr Smith !" said she, at intervals, as she could 
get breath to speak ; " oh, man, didna we hear that ye 
were dead ! Haena we thocht that ye were in yer grave 
for this month past ! Dear me, but this is extraordinar ! 
But will ye just step this way wi' me a minnit." An' she 
led the way into another room, whither I followed her, in 
the hope o* gettin an explanation o' the singular scene 
which had just taken place ; an' this explanation I did get. 
On our entering the apartment, my conductress shut the 
door, an', desirin me to tak a seat, thus began " Dear me, 
Mr Smith, but this is a most extraordinar, an', I maun say, 
a most unlucky affair. Werena we tell't, a month ago, 
that ye were dead an' buried, an' that, by mair than ane ay 
an' by the carrier frae yer ain place, too, at whom Lucy 
made inquiry the moment we heard it ? An', mair than a' 
that," continued Mrs Craig, " here's yer death mentioned 
in ane o' the newspapeis o' yer ain place." Sayin this, 
she took an auld newspaper frae a shelf, an', after lookin 
for the place to which she wanted to direct my attention, 
put it into my hauns, wi' her thoom on the following piece 
o' intelligence: " Died, on the 16th current, at his father's 

house, , Mr William Smith, in the 23d year of his 

age." 

"Noo, Mr Smith," said Mrs Craig, triumphantly, what 
were we to think o' a' this, but that ye were really an* truly 
buried ? The place, yer name, yer age, a' rich* ta a t^tle. 
What else could we think ?" 

" Indeed, Mrs Craig," said I, smiling, '* it is an odd busi^ 
ness, an' I dinna wunnur at yer bein deceived i but it's a* 
easily aneuch explained. It's this confounded name o* 
mine that's at the bottom o' a 1 the mischief. The Willie 
Smith here mentioned, I need hardly say, I suppose, is no 
me ; but I kent him weel aneuch, an' a decent lad he was 
he just lived twa or three doors frae us ;, an', as, to the 
carrier misleadin ye, I dinna wunnur at that either for 
he wad naturally think ye were inquirin after the deceased. 
But there's nae harm dune, Mrs Craig," continued I. 

" I'm no sure o' that," interrupted my hostess, wi' a 
look an* expression o' voice that rather took me aback, as 
indeed, had also the triumphant manner in which she had 
appealed to me if they could be blamed for havin believed 
me dead. This she was aye pressin on me, an* I was rather 
surprised at it ; but it was to be fully accounted for. 

" No !" said I, whan Mrs Craig expressed her uncertainty 
as to there bein ony mischief dune ; " isna there Lucy 
to the fore, lookin as weel an' as healthy as ever 1 saw 
her, an' " 

" Lucy's married !" interposed Mrs Craig, firmly and 
solemnly, 

" Married !" exclaimed I, startin frae my seat, in horror 
an' amazement '' Lucy married !" 

" 'Deed is she, Mr Smith, an' yon was her husband ye 
saw ; an' ye canna blame her, puir thing ! I'm sure mony 
a sair heart she had after ye. i thocht she wad hae gnit- 
ten her een oot ; but, bein sure ye were dei an' a guid offel 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



comin in the way, ye ken, she couldna refuse' t. It wad 
hae been the heicht o' imprudence. Sae she juist dried 
her een, puir thing, an' buckled to." 

" Exactly, Mrs Craig exactly," said I, here interncptin 
her ; " I understan ye ye need say nae main" An' I rushed 
oot o' the door like a madman, an' through the streets, 
withoot kennin either what I v/as doin or whar I was 
gaun. On recoverin my composure a little, I fand mysel 
in the Green o' Glasgow, an' close by the river side. The 
clear, calm, deep water, tempted me, in the desperation o' 
my thochts. Ae plunge, an' a' this distractin turmoil that 
was rackin my soul, an' tearin my bosom asunder, wad be 
stilled. In this frame o' mind, I gazed gloomily on the 
glidin stream ; but, as I gazed, better thochts gradually 
presented themsels, an', finally, resentment took the place 
o' despondency, whan I reflected on the heartless haste o' 
Lucy, to wed anither, thereby convincin me that, in losin 
her, my loss was by nae means great. So, then, to mak a 
lang story short, in place o' jumpin into the Clyde, I hied 
roe to a tavern, ate as hearty a supper as ever I ate in my 
life, drank a guid, steeve tumbler o' toddy, tumbled into 
bed, sleepit as sound as a caterpillar in winter, an' awoke 
next mornin, as fresh as a daisy an' as licht as a lark, free 
frae a' concern aboot Lucy, an' perfectly satisfied that I 
had acted quite richt in no droonin mysel on the previous 
nicht. 

Ilavin noo got quit o' my love affairs, my first business, 
next day, was to ca' on the mercantile firm alluded to in 
another part o' the narrative ; and, to their countin-hoose 
I accordingly directed my steps and thae steps, when I 
entered their premises, were a wee haughty, for I felt at 
once the strength o' the money in my pouch, and a sense 
o' havin been ill-used by them. On enterin the countin- 
hoose, I fand the principal there alane, seated at a desk. 

This gentleman I knew personally, and he kent me too ; 
for I had frequently ca'ed at his oifice in the way o' business, 
and on these occasions he had aye come forrit to me wi' 
extended hand and a smilin countenance. On the present, 
however, he did naething o' the kind. He sat still, and, 
lookin sternly at me as I approached him 

' f "Well, Mr Smith," he said, " are ye come to settle that 
account. Short accounts make long friends, you know," he 
added ; but wi' a sort o' ferocious SKiile, if .there be such a 
thing. 

" I wad like first to ken, sir," I replied, " what was the 
meanin o' yer writin us sic a letter as <we .had frae ye, the 
ither day ?" 

" Why, Mr Smith," said Mr Drysdale, which was the 
gentleman's name, " under the peculiar circumstances of 
the case, I don't see there was anything in that letter that 
ought to have surprised you. It was a perfectly natural 
and reasonable effort on our part to recover our own." 

" A reasonable effort, sir, to recover your own !" said I, 
indignantly. " What do you mean ? My faither has dealt 
wi' ye these twenty years, and I don't suppose ye ever fand 
it necessary to mak ony effort to recover your money oot 
o' his hands. I rather think ye were aye paid withoot 
askin." 

" Oh, yes, yes," replied Mr Drysdale, doggedly ; u but I 
repeat that recent circumstances have altered the case 
materially." 

" "What circumstances do ye allude to, sir ?" said I, wi' 
increasin passion. 

" What circumstances, sir, do I allude to ?" replied Mr 
Drysdale, fiercely. " 1 don't suppose you required to come 
here for that information ; but you shall have it, neverthe- 
less, since you ask it." And, proceeding to a file of news- 
papers, he detached one, and, throwing it on the desk 
before me, placed his finger, as Mrs Craig had done on 
another occasion, on the bankrupt list, and desired me to 
look at that. I did so, and read, in this catalogue of un- 



fortunates, the name of " William Smith, merchant, . 
Creditors to meet," &c. &c. 

"Now, sir," said Mr Drysdale, with a triumphant sneer, 
" are you satisfied ?" 

" Perfectly, sir," I replied ; " but you will please to ob- 
serve that that William Smith is not my father. He's a 
totally different person." 

" What !" exclaimed Mr Drysdale, " not your father ! 
Who is he, then ? I didn't know there was any other 
William Smith, of any note, in trade, in your town. I 
did not, indeed, look particularly at the designation ; but 
took it for granted it was your father, as, to my certain 
knowledge, many others have also done." 

" Indeed !" replied I ; " why, that is mair serious. Some 
steps maun be taen to remedy that mischief." 

" Without a moment's delay," said Mr Drysdale, who 
was already a changed man. " Your father must advertise 
directly ; saying he's not the William Smith whose name 
appears in the bankrupt list of such a date. Lose not a 
moment in doing this, or your credit'll be cracked through- 
out the three kingdoms. It has already suffered seriously 
here, I can assure you." 

Ilavin paid Mr Drysdale his account, which he wasna 
noo for acceptin sayin that, if we had the sma'est occasion 
for the money, to use it freely, withoot regardin them and 
havin thanked him for his advice as to counteractin the 
evil report that had gane abroad respectin us, I hurried 
awa to put it in execution ; and thinkin it very hard to be 
subjected to a' this trouble sae innocently, and to hae, at 
ane and the same time, a pair o' such calamities sae oddly 
thrust upon me, as my ain death, and the bankruptcy o' 
my faither. However, sae it was. But my business noo, 
was to remedy, as far as possible, the mischief that had been 
done by the unfounded rumour o' oor insolvency. Wi' 
this view I hastened awa to a newspaper office, t'o begin 
the cure by an advertisement ; and, in doin this, I had 
occasion to pass the coach-office whar I had landed the day 
before. Observin the place, I thocht I micht as weel step 
in and secure my ticket for the followin day, when it was 
my intention to return hame. Accordingly, into the office 
I gaed ; and, whan I did sae, I fand the clerk in earnest con- 
versation wi' twa men, ane o' whom was busily employed 
in lookin owre the way-book or register o' passengers' 
names. They didna at first observe me enter ; but, whan 
they did, there was an instant pause in their conversation, 
and I observed the clerk, after he had glanced at me, tippin 
a significant wink to ane, and gently punchin the other wi' 
his elbow. Then a' three glanced at me. I eouldna under- 
stand it. However, I said nothing ; thinkin they were 
settlin some private business thegither, and, oot o' guid 
nature, wad rather wait a minute or twa than interrupt 
them. But my waitin wasna lang. Before I had been an 
instant in the office, ane o' the men cam roun to whar 1 
was stan'in, and, lookin me fiercely in the face, said 

" What's your name, sir, if you please ?" 

" My name, sir !" replied I, as angrily for I thocht the 
fellow put the question in a very impertinent sort o' way 
"what business hae ye wi' my name?" 

"Oh, mair than ye're aware o', p'raps," says he. "An 
it's a bad sign o' a man whan he'll no tell his name," says he. 
This touched me to the quick, an' I dare say the vagabond 
kent it wad, an' did it on purpose. It was a wipe at my 
character which I could by nae means submit to. Sc says 
I to him, says I : 

" Freen, ye'll observe that I'm no denyin my name I'm 
only disputin yer richt to demand it. I'm no ashamed o' 
my name, sir, although it certainly has cost me some 
trouble in my day. My name, sir, Js William Smith sae 
mak o't what ye like." 

" I should mak a couple o guineas o't, at the very least," 
said the fellow wi' a smile ; and at the same time catchin 



TALES OF THE BORDERS- 



93 



me by the breast o' ray coat, and say in that I was his 
prisoner. 

" Prisoner !" exclaimed I, in amazement, " prisoner ! 
what do ye mean ?" 

" I mean just exactly what I say," said the fellow, quite 
coolly ; and, thinkin he saw in me some show o' a spirit o' 
resistance, whilk there really was, he touched me wi' a bit 
thing like a wean's whistle, and winked to his neebor to 
come to his assistance, which the latter immediately did, 
and catched me by the ither breast o' my coat. 

" Come along," said baith, now beginnin to drag me 
ivi' them. 

" No a fit," said I, resistin, " till I ken what for I'm 
used this way." 

" Oh ! ye don't know, Mr Innocence !" said the fellow 
wha first took haud o' me ; " not you you're amazed, an't 
you ? You can't suppose there's such a thing as fugae 
warrants out against you ! And you can't believe I should 
have such a thing in my pocket," added the scoonril, 
takin a piece o' paper oot o' his pouch, and haudin't 
up before my een, but oot o' my reach. " There, my lad, 
are you satisfied now ? That's the thing I walks by." 

Then, havin replaced the paper in his pouch, he went on, 
but now, apparently, more for the information of the by- 
standers, (of whom there was, by this time, a considerable 
number gathered together,) than for mine. 

" You're apprehended, Mr Smith, hy virtue of a fugae 
warrant, obtained at the instance of Messrs. Hodgson, 
Brothers, & Co., on the evidence of two credible witnesses 
namely, Robert Smart and Henry Allan who have de- 
poned that you were going beyond seas ; you being indebted 
to the said Hodgson, Brothers, & Co., in the sum of ,74 : 
J5: 9 sterling szoney. There's cause and ground o' yer 
apprehension, Mr Smith," continued the fellow ; " so, no 
more about it, but come along quietly, and at once, or it 
may be worse for you." 

" I'll see you shot first," said I. " I ken naething aboot 
your Hodgson, Brothers never heard o' them before. I 
owe them nae money, nor onybody else, but what I can 
pay, and I haena, nor ever had, ony intention whatever o' 
leavin my ain country." 

" A' quite natural statements these, Mr Smith," said the 
man wha first took haud o' me ; " but ye'll observe we're 
no bound to believe them. All that we have to do, is to 
execute our duty. If you are wronged, you may have your 
redress by legal process. In the meantime, ye go with us." 
And again the two commenced draggin me oot o' the office. 

" May I be hanged if I do, then !" said I, passionately ; 
for my blood Avas noo gettin up. It wad hae been far better 
for me, in the end, if 1 had taen things calmly for I could 
easily hae proven my identity, and, of course, the mes- 
sengers' error in apprehendin me ; but my prudence and 
patience baith gave way before the strong feelin o' resent- 
ment, which a sense o' the injustice I was sufferin had 
excited. 

" May I he hanged if I do, then !" said I ; and wi' that 
I hit ane o' the fellows a wap on the face that sent him 
staggerin to the other side o' the office. Havin done this, 
I turned roun, quick as thocht, and collared the ane that still 
held by me, a proceedin which was immediately followed 
by a wrestle o' the most ferocious and determined character. 
I was the stouter man o' the twa, however, and wad sune 
hae laid my antagonist on the breadth o' his back, but for his 
neebor, who, now rendered furious by the blow which I 
had gienhim, sprang on me like a tiger; and, between them 
I was borne to the groun, the twa fa'in on the tap o' me. 
Here, again, however, the battle was renewed. I continued 
to kick and box richt and left, wi' a vigour that made me 
still formidable to mv enemies ; while they, to do them 
justice, lent me kicks and blows in return, that nearly ca'ed 
the life oot o' me. There, then, were \ve a' three rowin 



on the floor, sometimes ane uppermost an' sometimes 
anither, wi' oor faces streamin o' blude, and oor coats a 
torn in the most ruinous manner. It was an awfu' scene, 
and such a ane as hadna been seen often in that office be- 
fore, I dare say. As micht be expected, we had a numerous 
audience, too. The office was filled wi' folk, the door was 
choked up wi' them, and there was an immense crowd in 
the street, and clusters at the window, a' tryin to get a 
sicht or a knowledge o' what was proceedin within. Baith 
the commotion and the concourse, in fact, was tremendou 
just appallin to look at. But this was a state o' matters 
that couldna last lang. My assailants havin ca'ed in the 
assistance o' a couple o' great, big, stout fallows o' porters, 
I was finally pinned to the floor, whan my hauns bcin 
secured by a pair o' handcuffs, I was raised to my feet, 
again collared by the twa officers, and a cry havin been 
made to clear the road, I was led oot o the office in pro- 
cession ; a messenger on each side o' me, the twa porters 
ahint, and ane before, openin a passage through the crowd, 
whose remarks, aslgaed alang, were highly flatterin to me: 

" What an awfu'-like ruffian !" said ane. " What a 
murderous-lookin scoonril !" said anither. 

" What's he been doin ?" inquired a third. 

" Robbin the mail-coach," answered a fourth ; ' and 
they say he has murdered the guard an' twa passengers." 

" Oh ! the monster !" exclaimed an auld wife, whom this 
piece of accurate information had leached ; " the savage, 
bloody monster ! Was ever the like heard tell o' ! The 
gallows is owre guid for him." 

In short, I heard mysel, as I was led alang, charged wi' 
every crime that human wickedness is capable o', although 
I perceived that the robbery o' the mail, and the murders 
o' the guard and passengers, was the favourite and prevail- 
ing notion ; a notion which, I presumed, had arisen frae 
the circumstance o' the row's havin had its origin in a coach 
office. Some reports hae been waur founded. As to the 
reflections on my appearance, I couldna reasonably quarrel 
wi' them ; for, really, it was far frae bein prepossessin ; 
and o' this I was quite sensible. My coat was hingin in 
tatters aboot me ; my hat was crushed oot o' a' shape ; and 
my face was hideously disfigured wi' blude, and wi' un- 
natural swellins frae the blows I had gotten. 

Wi' the reflections on my appearance, then, as I hae said, 
greatly improved as it was by the display o' my handcuffs, 
I couldna justly fin' faut. By-and-by, however, we reached 
the jail ; and into ane o' its strongest and best secured 
apartments was I immediately conducted. Havin seen me 
fairly lodged here, my captors took their leave o' me ; ane 
o' them sayin, as he quitted the cell, and shakin his head 
as he spoke 

" If ye don't rue this job, friend, my name's not what it 
is that's all." 

The door bein noo closed on me, an' a fine opportunity 
bein thus presented me for indulgin in a little reflection on 
my present circumstances an' situation, I accordingly 
began to do so ; but I fand it by nae means a very agreeable 
employment. Amang ither things, it struck me that I had 
exposed mysel sadly, an' very unnecessarily, since I could 
easily, as I believe I hae before remarked, hae shewn that 
they" had put the saddle on the wrong horse; but I had 
allowed my passion to get the better o' me, an', instead o' 
takin the richt an' prudent course o' establishin this by a 
quiet procedure, had resisted, an' feucht like a thief taen in 
the fact. However, the business was noo hoo to mend the 
matter, an' it was some time before I could discover 
precisely hoo this was to be done at least wi' a' that 
expedition I wad hae liked. At last it struck me that I 
couldna do better than intimate my situation to Mr Drys- 
dale, an' request o' him to come an' see me. This, then, I 
immediately did the jailor furnishin me wi' paper, pen, an 
ink, an' undertakin to have my letter delivered as directed 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



tvhich was faithfully executed; Tor, in less than half-an-hour, 
Mr Drysdule, laughin like to split his sides, entered my cell. 

" What's this, Mr Smith ? what's this has happened 
ye, man ?" said he, when the laughin wad let him speak. 
" Ye see what it is to hue a bad name. I tell't ye there 
was mair than me mistaen aboot this affair. It's a most 
unlucky name yours." 

" Confound the name, sir !" said T. " It's like to be 
baith the ruin an' the death o' me. But what can I do ? 
J cannu get quit o't, an' maun just fecht oot wi't the best 
way I can." 

I wasna at first a'thegither in such a laughin humour as 
my visiter, yet I couldna help joinin him in the lang run, 
whan we took twa or three guid rouns o't, an' then pro- 
ceeded to business. Mr Drysdale said he wad bail me to 
ony amount, if that were necessary to my immediate liber- 
ation ; but proposed that he should, in the first place, call on 
Hodgson, Brothers, whom he knew intimately, an' state the 
case to them. This he accordingly did ; an', in aboot a 
quarter o' an hour, returned to me in the jail, wi' ane o' thae 
gentlemen alang wi' him. Mr Hodgson expressed the 
utmost concern for what had happened, an' offered me ony 
reasonable recompense I might name for the injury an' 
detention to which I had been subjected. This, however, 
I declined, but expressed a wish that the messengers wha 
had apprehended me micht be keel-hauled a bit for the 
rashness o' their proceedins. 

" As to that, Mr Smith," said Mr Hodgson, smilin, " I 
think you had as well ' let a-be for let a-be' there. They 
have been sadly mauled by you, I understand, and it strikes 
me to be a drawn battle between you." 

" Weel, weel," said I, laughin, " een let it be sae, then ; 
but the scoonrils ocht to be mair caref'u wha they lay their 
hands on." 

" They ought, no doubt," said Mr Hodgson ; " but, in 
this case, there was really some excuse for them. Our 
debtor, whom I dare say you know very well, is a young 
man of the name of William Smith a grocer in your own 
town, who began business there some months ago. Now, 
he has failed, as I dare say you know, also has shut shop 
swindled his creditors and fled the country. This was 
the fellow we wanted to catch ; and, you being from the 
same place, of the same name, and of, as I take it, about 
the same age, it is really no great wonder that the men 
were deceived." 

I allowed that it was not ; but said it was rather hard 
that the sins o' a' the Willie Smiths in the country should 
be visited on my shouthers. " There's no a piece o' villany 
done by, nor a misfortune happens to a Willie Smith/' said 
I, " but it's fastened on me. It's really hard." 

My twa visiters laughingly admitted the hardship o' the 
case, but advised me to be as patient under't as I could a 
wishy-washy aneuch sort o' advice; but it was a', I dare 
say, they had to offer. 

"I need hardly say that the jail doors were noo instantly 
thrown open to me, nor that 1 lost nae time in availin mysel 
o' the liberty to which they invited. The first thing I did on 
gettin oot, was to provide mysel wi' a new coat and hat; 
for. until this was done, I wasna in a fit state to be seen, 
and couldna think o' walkin the streets in the torn. down 
and Mackguard-Iookin condition in which my captors had 
left me. Havin, however, improved my outward man a 
little, and brushed up my face a bit but on which, notwith- 
standin a' I could do, there continued to remain some ugly 
traces o' my late adventure I thocht I couldna do better, 
as I had noo a lang idle evenin before me, than ca' on twa 
or three auld and intimate acquaintances o' our family 
that resided in Glasgow. In pursuance o' this resolution, I 
began wi' some decent folks o' the name o' Robertson, dis- 
tant relations o' our ain, and from whom 1 had, on the oc- 
casion o' former visits, o' which 1 had made t\va or three, 



met wi' the most kind and cordial welcome ; and o' tins I 
naturally expected a repetition in the present instance. 
What was my surprise and mortification, then, whan 1 
fand it quite the reverse most markedly sae ! 

" Oh, William, is that you !" said Mrs Robertson, drily, 
and wi' a degree o' stiffness and cauldness in her manner 
which I couldna understan. " Will ye stop in a bit e" she 
added, hesitatingly and evidently wi' reluctance. Noo, she 
used to fling her arms aboot me, and pu me in. But it 
was noo, " Willys step hi?" I did, but sune saw there was 
something wrang; but what it was I couldna conjecture. I 
overheard her husband and dochters refusin Mrs Robertson's 
request to them to come ben and see me. They used to 
a' rush aboot me, like a torrent. In short, I perceived that 
I was a very unwelcome visiter, and that a speedy retreat; 
on my part, wad be highly approved of. Amongst other 
hints o' this, was Mrs Robertson's scarcely speakin three 
words to me a' the time I sat wi' her, and no makin ony 
offer o' the sma'est refreshment. Her behaviour to me was 
a'thegither exceedinly strange and mysterious ; but what 
struck me asmaist singular, was her aye speakin o' my faither 
wi' a compassionatin air. " Puir, puir man !" she wad say ; 
" Gude help us ! it's a weary warl this ! Ane canna tell 
what their weans are to come to. Muckle grief and sorrow, 
I'm sure, do they bring to parents' hearts." These truths 
bein obvious and general, I couldna deny them, although 
I was greatly at a loss to see any particular occasion for ad- 
vertin to them at the time. Wearied oot, at length wi' 
Mrs Robertson's truisms, and disgusted wi' her incivility 
and uncourteous manner to me, I took up my hat, and de- 
camped, wi' as little ceremony as I had been received. I 
was, in truth, baith provoked and perplexed by her extra- 
ordinary treatment o' me, and couldua at a' conjecture to 
what it could be owin. 

But let the reader fancy, if he can, what was my surprise 
whan I fand mysel treated in almost precisely the same way 
in every ither hoose at which I ca'ed subsequently to this. 
There was, in every instance, the same astonishment ex- 
pressed at seein me, the same cauldness exhibited, and the 
same mysterious silence maintained durin my visit. I w;is 
perfectly confounded at it ; but couldna, of course, ask ony 
explanation, as there was naething sae palpably oot o' joint 
as to admit o't. Havin made my roun o' ca's wi' the suc- 
cess and comfort I hae mentioned, I returned to my quarters, 
and, orderin a tumbler o' toddy, sat down amongst a heap 
o' newspapers, to amuse mysel the best way I could till 
bedtime. The first paper I took up was a Glasgow one, 
published that day. I skimmed it owre till I cam to a 
paragraph wi' the folio win takin title " Desperate Ruffian." 
This catched my ee at ance ; for I was aye fond o' readin 
aboot desperate ruffians, and horrible accidents, and 
atrocious murders, &c. &c. " So," says I to mysel, " here's 
a feast." And I threw up my legs on the firm on which I 
was seated, drew the candle nearer me, took a mouthfu' 
oot o' my tumbler, and made every preparation, in short, 
for a quiet, deliberate, comfortable read ; and this I got, to 
my heart's content. The paragraph, which began wi' 
"..Desperate Ruffian," went on thus : 

' This morning, a scene, at once one of the most dis- 
graceful and ludicrous which we have witnessed for some 
time, took place in one of the coach-offices of this city. 
A fellow of the name of William Smith, a young man of 

about twenty-three or twenty-four years of age, from , 

who is charged with various acts of swindling, and is well 
known as a person of infamous character, was apprehended, 
on a fugae warrant, by our two active criminal officers, 

Messrs. Rob and Ramage, in the coach-office, just as 

he was about to take out a ticket for Greenock, whither he 
intended to proceed for the purpose of embarking for 
America, with his ill-got gains. The ruffian, on being first 
apprehended, denied his name ; but, finding this not avail 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



Aim, he violently assaulted the officers in the execution of 
their duty, and, being a powerful man, it was not until 
those very deserving men had suffered severely in their 
persons, and obtained the aid of the bystanders, that he 
was finally secured. This, however, was ultimately ac- 
complished, when the fellow being securely handcuffed, 
wasconducted to jail, and lodged in one of the strongest cells, 
where he will, of course, remain until brought to trial. 
There is a rumour that Smith has been concerned in some 
late coach robbery ; but we have heard no particulars, and 
cannot vouch for its truth, although, from his appearar.ce, 
we should suppose him to be perfectly capable of anything." 
Weel, guid reader, what do ye think o' that? Wasna 
that a pretty morsel for me to swallow ? It is true that I 
needna hae felt very uneasy aboot the description o' a charac- 
ter that didna belang to me ; but it maun be observed that 
there was here that mixture o' fact and fiction which, in 
cases o' rumour it is sae difficult to separate. Moreover, 
I was certainly the person spoken o', however erroneously 
represented. There was nae denyin that. I was mingled 
tip wi' the business, and the very process o' establishin my 
innocence was certain to gieme a most unpleasant notoriety ; 
and was likely, besides, no to be in every case successfu. 
la short, I fand, tak it ony way I liktd, that it could- 
na be reckoned otherwise than as a most unlucky affair. 
It was noo, too, that I began to smell a rat regardin the 
treatment I had met wi' frae the different acquaintances 
I had ca'ed upon, They had either seen the paragraph 
which I hae just quoted, or had heard o't. The same 
belief explained to me the cause o' Mrs Robertson's 
reflections on the risin generation o' mankind, and her 
extraordinary sympathy tor my father. There could be 
nae doot o't^-and thus was the mystery solved. Of this 
I was still further satisfied, when, on takin up anither 
Glasgow paper o' the same day, I fand that it also con- 
tained an account o' the mornjn's affair. The twa para- 
fraphs were, on the whole, pretty much alike in substance ; 
ut, in the second ane, there were twa or three incidental 
circumstances mentioned, that added to the interest o' the 
Story considerably. 

Such, then, was the readin wi' which I beguiled the 
time on the evenin o' which I am speakin ; an' 1 leave it to 
the reader o' thae pages to judge hoo far it was calculated 
to soothe my previously harassed feelins, an' to afford me 
the relaxation an' amusement I sought, an' q' which I had 
sae much need. At first, I resolved on takin every possible 
public an' private measure that cquld be commanded to 
counteract the evil reports, o' ae kind an' amther, under 
which baith mysel personally an' my family were labourin. 
I thocht on gaun roun to a' the acquaintances on whom I 
had just been ca'in, an' explainin to them the real state o' 
the case ; an' then followin up this procecdin wi' ca'in on 
the editors o' the twa papers in which the injurious state- 
ments had appeared, an' requestin, nay, insistin, on their 
puttin in a true version o' the story, at the same time care- 
fully markin my identity, an' separatin me frae a' discredit- 
able transactions, of every kind, degree, an' character whatso- 
ever. A' this I thocht p' doin, I say ; but, on reflection, I 
changed my mind, an' determined no to gie mysel ony such 
trouble, but just to let things tak their course, an' trust to 
my ain conduct, an' the weel-kent respectability o' my 
faither, for the guid opinion o' the warld. Anent the 
rumour o' oor bankruptcy, however, I thocht there could be 
nae harm in puttin in an advertisement or twa, contradictory 
o't ; an' this was accordingly done, jii the following brief 
terms : 

" William Smith, hosier, , begs to inform his friends 

and the public, that he is not the same person whose name 
appears in the bankrupt list published in the news- 
paper of the 15th inst. All claims, en the advertiser will 
IT i aid, on demand, at his shop." 



This advertisement I handed Into the offices o' twa 
Glasgow papers that same nicht, an' next mornin saw me 
safely perched on the tap o' the coach for oor ain place, glad 
that a' my misadventures were owre, an" that 1 was soon to be 
at hame again ; for I was sick o' Glasgow an' the reader 
will allow no withoot some reason. The coach on which I 
was mounted was just aboot to start, the driver had taen 
the reins in his hand, an' the guard was strugglin to get up 
the last trunk, whan the waiter o' the inn in which I had 
been stoppin, an' which was at the head o' a prodigiously lartg 
close, just at the startin-place, cam rinnin up, an' cried, 
lookin at the same time at the passengers 

" Is there a Mr Smith here ?" 

I expected that half-a-dozen at least wad hae owned the 
name ; but, to my surprise, there was no Mr Smith amang 
them, but mysel. 

" They ca' me Smith, my man what is it ?" said I, wi' 
a suspicious look ; for I noo stood greatly in awe o' my ain 
name no being sure what mischief it micht lead me into. 

" There's a gentleman up in the hoose wants to see you 
directly," said the lad. 

" But I canna go till him, man ye see the coach is just 
gaun to start," said I. 

" Ay, but he says that's o' nae consequence. Ye maun 
come till him. He has something o' importance to say to ye." 

Thinkin it wasna advisable to slight a message o' sae 
pressin a nature, an' curious to ken wha it was that could 
be wantin me, an' what he could be wantin me for, I leaped 
down, resolvin to mak my legs, which were gay an' lang an' 
souple anes, save my distance, an' havin nae doubt they wad, 
critical as the case was. I up the close like a shot, an' into 
the hoose ; but, though / was in a hurry, the waiter wha 
had come for me was in nane. He didna appear for five 
minutes after ; an', as he was the only person wha kent ony- 
thing aboot a message bejn sent after me, I had to wait his 
return, .before I could find oot the person wha wanted me. 
This, however, he noo effected for me ; but not before a 
good deal mair time was lost. The gentleman who wished 
to see me was dresin ; so I was shewn into a room, while 
the waiter went to inform him o' my arrival. In a minute 
or twa after durin which I was dancin aboot in a fever of 
impatience, for fear o' losin the coach the door o' the apart- 
ment flew open, an' a laughin, joyous-lookin fellow, with a 
loud " Aha, Bob !" an' extended hand, rushed in ; but he 
didna rush far. The instant he got his ee fairly on me, he 
stopped short, an', lookin as grave's a rat, bowed politely, 
an' s'aid he was exceedingly sorry to perceive that he had 
committed a gross mistake. 

'' The fact is, my dear sir," he said, becomin again affable, 
to reconcile me, I suppose, to the unfortunate blunder, an' 
speakin wi' great volubility, "my name is Smith, which, I 
suppose, is yours too, sir. I'm from London. Now, you 
see, my dear sir, my brother Bob, who lives in Ireland, and 
whom I haven't seen for some years, was to have met me 
hej-e last night, agreeably to arrangement made by letter, 
and we were to have gone this morning, as it were, by the 
same poach in which you were going, to visit some friends 




inquire 

and I was 'distinctly told by the rascal of a vyajter that there 
was no person of that name. Well, what does the fellow 
do, but come running to my bedside, a little ago, and tell 
me that there ha4 been a Mr Smith in the house over night, 

and tha]t he was at that moment on the top of the 

coach. Well, my dear sir, did not I immediately and very 
naturally conclude jLhat this Mr Smith must be my brother ! 
And -thus has this unlucky mistake happened. Ton mv 
honour, I am most sorry for it exceedingly sorry, indeed." 
Bein naturally o' a very placable disposition, 1 didna say 
.much in reply to this harangue; but, omUerin something 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



aboot there oein nae help for't, rushed oot o' the hoose, an' 
down the confounded lang close, as fast as my legs could 
carry me, and that was pretty fast ; but no fast aneuch to 
catch the coach. It was afl" an' awa, niony a lang minute 
afore. 

" A weel," said I, on discoverin this, " but this does beat 
cock-fechtin ! What, in heaven's name, am I to do wi' 
this unfortunate patronymic o' mine ? It's crossin me wi' 
mischief o' ae kind or aniiher at every step. I suppose I'll 
be hanged in a mistake next. That'll be the end o't. I'll 
change't, if I leeve to get hame I'll change't, let what like 
be the consequence, or I'll hae an' alias added till't, before 
waur comes o't ; for this '11 never do." 

In such reflections as time did I expend the impatient 
feelin that the loss o' the coach, an' the recollection o' 
certain ither sma' incidents wi' which the reader is acquainted, 
had gien rise to. But little guid they did me ; an' this 
I at length fand oot. Sae I jubt gae a bit smile to mysel, 
an' made up my mind to wait patiently for the next coach, 
which started the same nicht, though at a pretty late hour. 
Late as that hour was, however, it cam roun, an', whan it 
did, it fand me, without havin met wi' ony ither misfortune 
in the interim, mounted again on the tap o' a coach. This 
time I was allowed to keep my seat in peace. The coach 
drove awa, an' me along wi't ; an', in twal' hours thereafter, 
I fand mysel in my faither's hoose, safe an' soun', after a' 
that had happened me. 

Shortly after the occurrences which I have just related, 
my puir faither departed this life, and I, as his only son 
and heir, succeeded to a' his possessions stock, lock, and 
barrel ; and I now only wanted a wife to complete my 
establishment, and fix my position in society. This, how- 
ever, didna remain lang a desideratum wi' me. A wife I 
got, and as guid a ane as ever man was blessed wi' ; but it 
was rather a curious sort o* way that I got her. Ae nicht, 
pretty late, in the summer o' the year 1796, a rather smart 
rap comes to our door. We were a' in bed mother, servant, 
lass, and a' ; but, on hearin't, I bangs up, on wi' my claes, 
lichts a cannle, and opens the door. On doin this, then, 
I sees a porter loaded wi' trunks and bandboxes, and be- 
hint him a very pretty, genteel-lookin young woman. 

"Here's a frien o' yours come to see you, frae Edinburgh," 
says the porter, whom I kent weel aneuch; and wi' this the 
young leddy i omes forward, wi' a lipht step, and ane o' the 
prettiest smiles I ever saw ; and, says she, haudiu oot her 
haun to me 

" Ye'll no ken me, Mr Smith, I dare say ?" 

" No, indeed, mem," says I " I do not." 

" I'm a cousin o' yours," said she " Margaret Smith ; 
and a dochter o' your uncle William's." 

" Frae Edinburgh," said I, takin her cordially by the 
haun, and leadiu her into the parlour. 

" The same," said she, smilin again ; " and I'm just come 
doun to spend a day or twa wi' ye, if ye hae room for me, 
and winna think me owre troublesome." 

" Room !" said J " plenty o' room ; and, as for trouble, 
dinna mention that." And I assisted my fair cousin to re- 
move her shawl and other haps. This cousin, I may 
mention by the way, I had never seen before; and neither 
had she ever seen ony o' us, although we knew perfectly 
weel o' each other's existence. But this within parentheses. 

Havin seen my pretty cousin for she was really a bpnny- 
qokin and modest creature made so far comfortable, I ran 
joyfully to my mother, to inform her o' oor acquisition. 
My mother, who had never seen her either, was delighted 
wj' the intelligence, and instantly rose to welcome her. 
The servant was roused oot o' her bed, a little supper pre- 
pared, and some delightful hours we spent together. I 
was charmed wi' my fair cousin; so intelligent, so lively, 
so sensible, so accomplished so much o' everything, in 
short, that was captivatin in a young and beautifu' woman, j 



Nor was my mother less delighted wi' her than I was. 
There were, indeed, some things spoken o' in the course o* 
conversation between my mother, and oor guest, and I, 
relatin to family affairs, in which we couldna, somehow or 
other, come to a distinct understandin. There was some- 
thing like cross-purposes between us; and I observed that 
my fair cousin was extraordinary ignorant o' a' matters 
concernin us, and o' the circumstances o' a number o" oor 
mutual relations. But this neither my mother nor I thought 
much o', either. It was just sae like a bit lively thocht- 
less lassie, wha couldna be expected to hae either the 
genealogy o' her friends, or their particular callins or resi- 
dences, at her finger-ends. However, as I said before, we 
spent a pleasant evening thegither ; and this was followed 
by eight as pleasant days, durin which time oor fair guest 
continued to mak rapid progress in the affections o' baith 
my mother and me; although, of course, the regard she 
excited was somewhat different in its nature in the twa 
cases. In mine it was love in my mother's esteem. But 
a' this was to hae a sudden and a curious termination. At 
the end o' the eight days above alluded to, happenin to 
tak up a newspaper, I was attracted by an advertisement 
bearing the following highly interesting title " Young 
Lady Missing." I read on, and found, to my amazement, 
that the young lady was no other than my fair cousin. 

The notice stated, that she had gone down to -* , to visit 

some relations ; had left Edinburgh, by the coach, on 

the mornin of the 10th, and had been safely set down at 
; but that her relations there had seen nothing of her, 
and that no trace of her could since be found. The ad- 
vertisement concluded by offering a handsome reward to 
any one who could give any such information as might 
lead to a discovery of the young lady, either to Mr William 

Smith, haberdasher, .. or to Mr William Smith, No. 19, 

Lavender Street, Edinburgh. 

Here, then, was a queer business. But, bein now some- 
what accustomed to thae things, I was at nae loss to dis- 
cover the meanin o't. The young lady wasna my cousin at 
a' she had come to the wrang shop. She was a niece o' 
Willie Smith the haberdasher's and there was the mystery 
solved at ance. It turned oot precisely sae. There was 
an awfu kick-up, and an awfu rejoicin, and shakin o' hands, 
and writin o' letters, and sae forth, after I had announced 
to (he different parties how the matter stood, and broclit 
them thegither. But I wasna gaun to lose my fair cousin 
this way. I followed her to Willie Smith's, whar I was a 
welcome aneuch guest, and availed mysel to the full o* the 
advantages which a curious chance had thrown in my way, 
by eventually inakin her my wife ; and, as I said before, a 
most admirable one she made, and still maks, as she is 
sittin by my elbow at this present writin. 

Noo, guid reader, sae far hae I brocht the story o' my 
life, or perhaps, rather o' my unfortunate name, (no 
a'thegither so unfortunate, either, since it helped me to sic a 
wife,) and I maun stop ; but it's for want o' room, and, I 
assure you, no for want o' matter. What I hae tell't ye is 
no a (ithe o' the sufferins I hae endured through this un- 
happy patronymiq o' mine. In truth, it was but the begin- 
ning o' them. The rest I may relate to ye on some future 
day. In the meantime, guid reader, I bid ye fareweel, wi* 
a sincere houp that yer name's no Willie Smith. 




WILSON'S 

, SFratritfonavg, mrtr 3Jmaflutatt&e 

fALES OF THE BORDERS, 



m 



AND OF SCOTLAND. 



THE SCOTTISH VETERAN. 

IT was upon one of those clear, chill, but not unpleasant 
days, that so often occur towards the latter end of November, 
that an aged female, and one much younger, in all the bloom 
of maiden beauty, overcast by a tender shade of melancholy, 
that gave tenfold interest to her lovely countenance, and 
mellowed the lustre of her dark hazel eyes, were seen 
sitting at the door of a cottage on the banks of one of the 
tributaries of the silver Tweed. The full round orb of 
the sun was sinking slowly behind a huge bank of clouds, 
tinged by his departing rays, that lingered as if regretting his 
short career, and loath to depart. The deep shades of twi- 
light closed quickly upon the scene ; but the females sat 
engaged at their work, as if it had been an eve of autumn. 
Margaret Blair, the more aged of the two, sat gazing in 
one direction, with unweared assiduity, only occasionally 
looking at the progress she made with the stocking she was 
busy knitting ; and Jeanie Aitken, the younger, bent her 
steadfast gaze at intervals in the same direction, towards the 
road that skirted the foot of the neighbouring hills. Heavy 
clouds began to rise in the east ; the wind had changed 
towards that quarter, and howled mournfully along the waste. 

" Jeanie, my dear," said Margaret, " Jamie has gotten a 
fine day to travel in. Do you see no appearance o' him 
yet ? Your young een are far clearer than mine. These 
heavy clouds mak me fear for the nicht. I am sure he 
might have been here lang before this time, if his heart 
yearned as mickle to see me as mine does to see him. I 
trust that naething has happened to him on the road. Many 
a danger has he passed through in the wars. It would be 
an awful thing were ony misfortune to happen him when 
he is so near home. God has preserved him in the battle- 
field ; and, oh, I trust and pray He will still be his guide ! 
Do you no see ony signs o' him yet ? The night will soon 
be on, and I fear it will be a stormy one." 

A deep sigh escaped from Jeanie as she answered " Oh, 
no ; I see no one on the road. Dear mother, retire into the 
house you must be very cold I will watch yet a little. I 
hope he will soon be here, and then we will be so happy when 
we meet." The tears that filled her eyes, and the trembling 
accents in which she spoke, betrayed a heart ill at ease. 

It was at this period I arrived at the cottage, in hopes 
of seeing my old schoolfellow ; for a letter had been received 
a, few days before, in which he informed his mother and 
Jean that he would be with them this day, as he had re- 
ceived his discharge. 

Jeanie and James had long loved each other ; they 
were cousins, and had been brought up together ; but he 
had enlisted in anger, and forsaken her. With all his 
faults, she had never ceased to love him ; and, from the 
day he went off to join his regiment, for six long years 
they had never heard of him. About three months after 
the battle of Victoria, the carrier to the town of Dunse 
brought them two letters as he passed one for Margaret 
Blair, the other for Jeanie Aitken. They were from James. 
I was shewn both the letters, which will unfold the 
previous history of my friends, and the feelings of the 
reformed son better than I can, and introduce the Veteran 
169. Vox.. IV 



in a more favourable light than I have as yet been enabled 
to do. 

" Victoria: 

"DEAREST MOTHER, My folly has at length fallen 
upon my oAvn head, and heavy is the load I will bear un- 
til I receive an answer to this, containing your forgiveness 
for my wicked neglect of your counsels, and despising the 
instructions of my worthy father the result of all which 
has been my giving myself so much to evil company, and de- 
serting you in your old age. But, dear mother, I am now an 
altered man. On the dark and cheerless guard, at the dead 
hour of the night, my conscience often awoke, and rendered 
me almost desperate when sinking under fatigue, hunger, 
and thirst, on the long and toilsome march, it has given a 
keener edge to my sufferings; still I warred against the better 
feelings that arose in my breast for I was still wayward 
and proud ; but now, lingering under my wounds, I humble 
myself in the dust, before that God I so long neglected, 
who alone speaks peace to my humbled spirit ! Be not 
alarmed at the mention of my wounds. I am now out of 
danger, and will be enabled to join my regiment in a few 
weeks would it were to join your peaceful fireside. But 
though I am unworthy to obtain yet for a time this my 
earnest prayer, I feel assured I shall yet be spared to 
comfort your declining years. And that every blessing may 
be yours until then, is the prayer of your now repentant and 
loving son, "JAMES BLAIR." 

" P.S. Is cousin Jeanie still unmarried ? Does she reside 
still near you ? I hope she is still unchanged, unreasonable 
that I am. If she is, give her the letter; if not, burn it. 
The scenes and feelings I enjoyed before I left your roof, 
are dearer and stronger here in Spain, than I can express 
or you imagine. I do not request you to write soon it 
would be unjust and unkind to doubt it for a moment. 
Again, I am your now altered and dutiful son until death. 

J. B." 

The letter to Jeanie was received with a trembling hand, 
and placed in her bosom, that fe't it impart a buoyancy to 
her feelings, she had been long a stranger to. As soon as she 
had finished reading the letter to Margaret, she retired to 
a beautiful knowe that overtopped the burn, and seated her- 
self among the long yellow broom, where the most pleasant of 
her days had passed with her James. There they had herded 
together ; there they had first plighted their young loves ; 
and there James had left her in anger, without hope of 
ever returning to her again. On this loved spot, every 
moment she could spare had been passed, musing upon her 
absent lover, or praying for his safety and return ; and now, 
with a feeling of pleasure she had been long a stranger to, 
she drew the letter from her bosom, and broke it open, 
while joy and grief filled her heart by turns. 

" Victoria. 

"DEAREST AND BELOVED, BUT MUCH INJURED JEAN, 

Dare I hope you ever think of me? I fear, if you do, it is 
with anger and contempt ; for I feel, and my heart is like to 
burst with the thought, that I have used you ill. Believe 
me, it was in anger at I knew not what. You, with the 



98 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



prudence I now esteem you for, refused to fulfil your pro- 
mise of marriage, because I had given myself too much up 
to company to my shame I own, to dissipation. Believe 
me, my love, I now feel, in all its bitterness, my folly, and 
your wisdom. I am no longer the " roaring boy" I used 
to boast myself among my associates ; bat the humbled 
lover and son. The privations and toils of war have 
opened my eyes to my true interests. For a time I was the 
most reckless in our company ; for I strove, by riot, to drive 
from my mind the upbraidings of my heart ; but I strove in 
The early lessons I had received in rectitude, em- 



bittered all my guilty joys, and at length triumphed. Let me 
pour into your bosom the history of my reformation. It 
was on the eve of the battle of Fuentes de Honore, the first 
serious reflection came over my mind. The whole after 
part of the day I had been engaged in the work of death, 
with all my energies aiding in the destruction of my species, 
my mind excited to the utmost. Thrice we had driven the 
enemy through the village before us, over the dead and 
wounded. My comrades were falling thick around me. 
Evening came to stop the work of death. My bosom friend, 
the companion of my follies, had fallen, early in the action, at 
the foot of the brae by the burn-side. I remember the spot 
well. O Jeanie, how could I forget it? It was so like the 
spot where we last parted where the most innocent and 
happiest of my hours had been spent that, even in the 
hottest of the fire, the resemblance strung my arm, and 
fired my soul to double daring. I could not endure that 
an enemy should be in possession of it, and drive us from 
the sacred ground. I rejoiced that I was put on duty, to 
bury the dead and remove the wounded. I hurried to the 
spot where my friend had fallen, to assist him if alive, or to 
pay the last duty if dead. Alas, Jeanie ! what a sight there 
met my eyes! He lay, adding to the pile of bleeding bodies 
that, only a few hours before, were all in life and health. 
Silent and sad, we dug a trench, and deposited the victims 
of war. The French parties were out on the same duty ; 
we mixed friendly together, only enemies by a cruel 
necessity, and, like dogs, brought out to fight for the interest 
or amusement of others. Several of them could speak a 
little English. We drank and eat together. They had 
plenty ; we were at this time almost famished, being in 
advance of our supplies. Fear, my love, you know, is no 
part of my nature ; but the uncertainty of human life as a 
soldier, had never struck my mind with so much force as 
now. I returned an altered man. I felt as if we were 
never to meet again, and I never should reach my native 
vale, to lay my mother's head in the grave. I own, with 
shame, I had until now striven to forget you, but could 
not ; for, sleeping or waking, you were ever in my 
thoughts ; night after night you were present in my 
dreams, and day found me almost distracted. Dissipation 
only brought greater anguish ; yet my proud heart would 
not stoop to communicate its woes to those who alone could 
give relief. Every draught that joined I anxiously looked for 
an acquaintance from my native place ; and I would have 
given a kingdom for the knowledge that you were still free. 
I knew your faithful nature ; but I had basely deserted 
you ; wounded that heart I ought to have cherished, be- 
cause, it would not act contrary to the dictates of a desecrat- 
ing advice, that would have ruined us both. At length, 
the battle of Victoria was fought ; in which action I was 
wounded in the thigh ; but still I kept the ranks. We were 
sorely pressed by the enemy ; but nature could support me 
no longer, and I sank to the ground as our regiment was 
forced to retire, overpowered by superior numbers- A 
charge of cavalry passed over the ground where I lay ; itnd, 
O Jeanie ! what horror did I feel at this moment ! I com- 
mended my soul to God my mother's and your name 
escaped from my lips the horse passed over me and when, 
from a swoon, I awoke to consciousness, the surgeons were 



setting the bone of my leg, aj\d a bandage was already upon 
my wound in the thigh.*, I will not pain you more. 
I am now almost Avell, and often amuse myself with the 
thought that, were you to see the pale emaciated soldier upon 
his crutches, you would look in vain for Jamie Blair. But 
be cheerful, my love ; for the surgeon says I will be as sound 
a man as ever, and join my regiment in a few weeks. How 
much better were it to join you and my mother ! But the 
time will come in course, and I hope soon. If pity ever 
found a place in your bosom, send me your forgiveness ; 
and, if you can send me the assurance that, in spite of all 
my follies, you love me dear as ever, I will now do all in 
my power to be worthy of it. If you refuse to pardon me, 
you will drive me to despair, and I shall volunteer for 
every forlorn hope, and rush upon danger, until death re- 
lieve me from my present state of mind. Return me, my 
love, good for evil, and give peace to that heart that 
wounded yours. Remembered or forgot, dearest Jean, I 
shall ever remain yours until death; 

" JAMES BLAIR." 

On the evening of the day after the receipt of these 
letters, when I made my usual call, I was astonished at 
the change that had taken place in the widow's cottage. 
The sadness had passed from the brow of Jean, and hope 
had given a new lustre to her eye. Margaret was all gar- 
rulity, and loud in the praises of James; but Jean was 
silent, and seemed to luxuriate in the pleasant feelings with 
which her soul was filled. I departed myself, with a feel- 
ing of happiness, at the welcome news from my old school- 
fellow, and walked home more stately and erect, as if my 
consequence had been enhanced by my friendship and 
intimacy with one of Wellington's heroes ; and crooned, with 
peculiar spirit and satisfaction, as I walked along, " Scots 
wha hae wi' Wallace bled." 

It would be superfluous to say that Jeanie returned such 
an answer as James might wish. Joy once more became an 
inmate of Widow Blair's cottage, and thanksgivings were 
now mingled in their prayers for the absent 'soldier. The 
correspondence was as regular, as the vicissitudes of war 
would permit ; and often, when I had occasion to go to 
town, I was intrusted with the letter and penny to lodge 
in the post-office for the soldier. Month after month 
rolled on ; peace was at length concluded ; the troops were 
returning to Britain ; and James, being a seven-years' man, 
and his period of service nearly expired, we could calculate 
to a day the time we expected to have him once more 
among us. But for a time we were disappointed. In no 
home in Britain did the return of Bonaparte from Elba 
cause greater sorrow than in the widow's cottage. James was 
once more embarked for the continent with his regiment 
was present at the battle of Waterloo escaped the dread- 
ful carnage unhurt and marched with the army for Paris, 
where he got his discharge, and was on his return at the 
commencement of this narrative. 

The shades of evening had forced the females to retire, 
benumbed with cold, long before my accustomed visit. 
I was grieved and disappointed at not finding James, and 
sorry to see the anxiety and grief of the mother and 
sweetheart. The clouds had now covered the whole sky- 
the darkness was intense the wind blew with a piercing 
keenness and snow had begun to fall fast, and drift along 
the waste. I gave them all the comfort I could, and re- 
tired, promising to call again in the morning having in 
vain urged them to retire to rest ; and, upon my return 
next day, I learned that, after my departure, they con- 
tinued to watch going repeatedly out to examine the 
state of the weather, or beguiled by the shaking of the 
door struck by the blast, and thinking some one tried the 
latch. Still no one came hour after hour passed on their 
humble supper stood untouched the fears of the mother 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



99 



were expressed in mailings and ejaculatory prayers for his 
safety ; and Jeanie's expressive countenance betrayed the 
anxiety under which she laboured. Their evening devotions 
were made with pious hope their usual hour of retiring 
to rest hadlong gone by ; yet neither thought of sleep forall 
that was most dear on earth to them was, they feared, ex- 
posed to the pitiless storm, and they still sat by the fire, 
shrinking at every gust of wind, as if it had struck them- 
selves, while the candle burned on the window sill, a 
beacon to guide the wanderer. At length the door opened, 
and a thin, weather-beaten figure staggered in, and sank 
upon the floor, exhausted and senseless. The anticipated 
joyful meeting, was one of anguish and alarm. Care and 
assiduity restored the soldier to warmth and animation ; 
and hope and joy succeeded to fear and grief. James 
had come from London to Leith in one of the smacks ; and, 
after leaving Haddington, anxious to reach his mother's as 
soon as possible, had left the highway, and struck into the 
country, over the Lammermuir hills, by a route dear and 
familiar to him ; and, being some miles shorter, chosen as 
much for the sake of former recollections, which were crowd- 
ing upon him at every step, as for its shortness. The day 
was clear and bracing when he left Haddington, and all 
induced him to follow this route ; but he had miscalcu- 
lated his strength, and the shades of evening overtook him 
in the middle of the mountains. The sky began to lower, 
and threatened a storm. Ere he had reached the heights, 
the snow fell fast, the wind and drift threatened to over- 
whelm him, and all around became one undistinguishable 
chaos. He could recognise no mark by which to know 
whether he was in the right tract or not. Confused and 
bewildered, but not dismayed, he stood still for a few 
minutes, to collect his energies; and having recalled to his 
recollection that the wind blew from the direction in which 
hs wished to proceed, he started afresh, and battled with 
the storm, till at length he recognised a well-remembered 
cairn on the heights, against which he stumbled, and of 
which he gained his knowledge only by groping ; for it 
was so dark that he eould not see his OAvn hand a few 
inches from his face. Having felt it round and round, he 
came to the broad, flat stone on the southern side, the 
shepherd's dial, which gave a thrill of hope to his breast, 
like a glimpse of the polar star to the tempest-tossed 
mariner- Starting anew, and still keeping his face to the 
biting blast, again he stumbled upon a cairn, and felt it 
round and round; and, to his surprise and regret, found it 
to be the same. Disappointed and confused, he started 
afresh twice he struggled round the same circle upon the 
heights, each time adding to the despondency that began 
to steal upon him, till, exhausted and almost hopeless, he 
threw himself on the lee-side of the cairn, to recover his 
strength. He thought some strange fatality attended him ; 
yet was loath to yield to despair, and struggled manfully 
against it ; but a languor came over him, attended by an 
almost irresistible drowsiness ; and all he had suffered in 
the retreat to Corunna could not be compared to his 
present situation. There, companionship had lightened the 
most intense sufferings ; severe as they often were, they 
were not, as now, without that aid which sustains men in 
the most trying cases the countenance of their fellow-men. 
Here he was alone, in a sea of snow, within a few miles 
of his mother's door! the thought was bitterness unutter- 
able, such as he had never felt before. Death he had 
often braved in all his forms in the battle-field he had 
gazed upon him in the pomp and tumult of war, when the 
excited mind unheeded his presence ; but here he seemed 
to hold his victim in suspense, until his very presence 
might produce the parting of soul and body from very fear 
of him. He struggled to rise, and combat the feelings that 
he knew must prove fatal to him ; but his limbs were stiff, 
and would not obey his will, and he commended his soul 



to his Creator, and resigned himself to his fate. His mind 
became more calm, his thoughts less confused ; and, as 
he lay musing, it occurred to him that he had erred in 
taking the wind for his compass ; for, perhaps, it blew 
round the top of the hill, (as it did,) and was the cause of 
his always returning to the same spot. The idea occurred 
to him that, if he had held straight on until he came to a 
running water, and followed its course, it would have guided 
him to some mill or cottage. This acted upon his mind 
like an electric spark, his heart warmed, and his limbs 
resumed, under the inspiration of hope, that once more 
came to his aid, their former energy. Onwards he urged 
his way, stumbling at every few paces over the unequal 
ground ; and, with severe labour, he cleared the hills, and 
anxiously listened for the sound of running water ; but the 
howling of the blast deadened every sound ; and he still 
urged his way, dragging his weary limbs after him, till a 
faint rushing was heard, and a black chasm appeared at hif 
feet, over Avhich he must have fallen on the next step. 
He returned thanks to God for his preservation. The 
chasm was the well- remembered linn, only a few hundred 
yards from his mother's cottage ; and he had thought, more 
than once, he had distinguished a faint light in the gloom, 
at times distinct, then vanishing again, but now easily 
made out. His heart leaped for joy, for he knew it pro- 
ceeded from his mothers cottage window. He kept the 
burn side, and proceeded straight to the house ; but his 
energies were entirely spent ; he reached it, lifted the 
latch, and remembered no more until he found his mother 
and Jeanie hanging over him and chafing his benumbed 
limbs. After a night's repose, the hardy veteran had risen, 
full of vigour, as if the last night's escape from death had 
been only a dream. I could perceive melancholy reflec- 
tions, mixed with the joy he felt at finding all well at his 
return ; but he said to me, with much bitterness 

" Eight years I have spent, of the prime of my life, in 
the service of my country ; a few shillings, the remainder 
of my marching money, is all I possess in the world ; and 1 
have returned to my mother's house, a poorer man, in every 
respect, than I left it." 

A cloud passed over his brow a sigh escaped his altered 
look Jeanie watched with pain. She spoke not, but the sigh 
fell on his mother's ear. She grasped his hand ; and, press- 
ing it to her bosom 

" Jamie," said she, Cf my bairn, why do ye sigh on this 
blessed day ? Are ye vexed that ye hae come back to yer 
auld mither and Jeanie ?" 

"I am not, mother," replied he "indeed, I am not; 
but a few painful recollections steal over my mind ; and the 
consciousness that I am alone the cause, adds to their 
bitterness. Jeanie, I am at home, and find you all I could 
wish ; but complete happiness is yet at a distance. We 
cannot be united until I have recovered, by care and in- 
dustry, what I have lost by my unprofitable absence." 

Jeanie blushed and hung down her head; her breast 
seemed too narrow to contain the feelings that rose in it ; 
but his mother hastily interfered : 

"Jamie," said' she, "ye maunna tak that view o' yer 
situation this cottage an' a' that is in it is yer ain. Ye'll 
no begrudge me my room in it for a' my time ; and yer 
cousin has saved some pounds for this happy meeting, and 
winna put ye aff as she ance did before ; for noo she's satis- 
fied ye're an altered man. What say ye, lassie? Amlricht?" 

Jeanie spoke not ; but her looks shewed her approval, 
and the happy pair sat gazing at him as if they feared he 
was soon about to leave them, and they could not look 
enough. I began to speak of the scenes he had witnessed 
in Spain, when his mother inquired what he considered his 
most unlocked for escape. 

Indeed, mother," he replied, " it is hard to say ; but I 
think it was at the storming of Badajos, before my^ better 



100 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



feelings had returned to me. I was then reckless of every- 
thing ; and, being in the grenadier company, I volunteered 
for the forlorn hope. I had been before on the same duty, 
and knew it was as well to volunteer as to be commanded, 
for the duty must be done, and volunteering has a more 
soldier-like sound ; so we who were to form the party, 
immediately sold everything we possessed, and drank it with 
our comrades. This was the practice of many, for we 
knew what we had to do as soon as it was dark ; and, if 
we escaped death, we might look upon it as a miracle ; and 
thus were determined to enjoy life while we had it. This 
is a soldier's philosophy : enjoy all you have in your power ; 
for what you leave after you fall, you know not who will 
enjoy. I have eaten the last morsel of bread in my haversack 
going into action, and my comrades did the same, lest we 
might fall and another eat it. As soon as the hour arrived, 
we were at our post and formed, then marched on in dead 
silence towards the breach, headed by a captain and a 
lieutenant. I was on the right, and heard the lieutenant 
sob once or twice. The captain turned to him and said, in 
an under voice 

" ' Return, if you are afraid.' 

" ' No,' replied the lieutenant, in a firm voice, though 
not much louder than a whisper, ' I am not afraid I fear 
not danger, but will face it with any man in the British 
army ; but, good God ! my mother and sister' 

"A dreadful crash stunned me a mine had been sprung, 
and we Avere all scattered in different directions, the greater 
part mangled and dead. When I recovered my recollection, I 
was sweltering in the ditch of the place, almost suffocated, 
and sinking. I was sorely bruised and bewildered ; and, led 
more by instinct than reason, for I was incapable of think- 
ing, I struggled to get at some support ; and fortunately got 
hold of some willow twigs that were growing in the side of 
the ditch, and clung to them, while my faculties gradually 
came to me, and I felt in all its force the horrors of my 
situation. The noise was louder than thunder ; the shot 
was entering the banks, and plunging into the water around 
me like a hail-storm, while splinters of shells were flying 
past in every direction. I was at one moment covered with 
water, and the next with mud and earth, torn by the shot 
from the side of the ditch. The whistling of the balls, the 
shouts of the men, the volleys of musketry, and deafening 
roar of the guns, and constant flashes of light that shot 
fearfully across the darkness of the scene, rendered my 
mind a chaos of confusion. I felt not what could be called 
fear; I had, in vain, more than once tried to extricate 
myself from my horrible situation. A callous, regardless 
feeling was upon me ; and I passed the tedious hours in a 
kind of stupor, much resembling a fearful nightmare. I 
felt fully the desperate situation I was in, and my utter 
inability to relieve myself; but there was no use of making 
it worse than it was by fretting and morning at length came. 
The firing had for a long time ceased; and I was dragged out 
more dead than alive, benumbed and bruised. Most of the 
volunteers had perished, and, along with them, the lieu- 
tenant, for whom I felt more regret than for any officer I 
had ever known to fall in the field of war. I often thought 
how much more commendable his feelings were than my 
own ; for I had never even thought of you until I re- 
turned once more safe to the camp, and coolly turned over 
in my mind the whole occurrences of this fearful night. 
My conscience, I own, did upbraid me ; but I soon shook 
off the uneasy feeling." 

Jeanie heard the recital with a thrill of horror ; and, while 
the tears were falling fast 

" O Jamie !" said she, " little did we imagine the half 
of the dangers you were exposed to, or the misery you must 
have endured." 

" We had sufferings," replied he, " enough and to spare ; 
bat we had also our enjoyments, with a relish no one at 



home, in the calm ot domestic life, can have the most 
distant conception of.' The soldier's life, in an enemy's 
country, is made up of extremes, either of hardship or en- 
joyment. When the toilsome march is over, how sound and 
sweetly he sleeps, even on the hard, bare ground, under the 
canopy of heaven ! But, if his billet be good, he is the 
happiest of mortals words cannot express his pleasures. 
After a rapid pursuit of the enemy, such as we had after the 
French to Victoria, when we were far in advance of our 
commissariat, and our stomachs were keen, sweet, sweet 
was our dry hard beef, so hard and black from over- 
driving, we were forced to bruise it between two stones, 
before our eager teeth could masticate it. Victuals and 
drink were all we coveted, and we were not over scrupu- 
lous how we came by them. We were quartered in Alcan- 
tara for a winter, after a summer of privations, and we 
lived like kings. Four of us were quartered upon one 
house ; our rations were regularly served ; and we had abun- 
dance and to spare. In Spain, almost every family has a 
barrel of olive oil for a supply during the winter ; for they 
cook a great many of their victuals with it. We had be- 
come as fond of it as the natives. I recollect that our host 
had two large barrels filled behind the door ; and complaints 
having been made by the inhabitants, every day, of the 
depredations committed upon their oil by the soldiers, our 
host was as jealous as the rest, examined his store night 
and morning, and gave us the greatest characterfor honesty. 
But little did he know whom he praised ; for we were no 
better than the rest only more cunning; and it was fortunate 
for us when the route came, for I am sure there was not the 
depth of a finger of oil in one of the barrels, we having 
had the precaution to put in as much water as we drew 
oil, to save appearances. 

"Jamie, Jamie," said Margaret, "ye were sair left. 
Oh, man, did ye steal frae the poor folk in that gate ?" 

" Indeed, mother," replied he, " we did not think we 
stole when provisions were in the case. The Spaniards, no 
doubt, said we were only better than the French in this 
respect ; for the French took openly whatever they chose, 
and abused them to boot ; we only stole provisions, when 
unobserved, and always gave them fair words for what we 
took, whether detected or not. Perhaps they were indebted 
to Wellington and the provost-marshal for this ; for I 
assure you there was no mercy for us when detected. 
There were two brothers hanged upon the same tree, just 
before the battle of Victoria, for being detected in taking 
a little flour, when we were in great want. I recollect we 
marched past them." 

" Oh, Jamie," said the mother, " ye've seen strange 
sights." 

" Ay, and heard strange things, too," replied he. " I will 
tell you what I heard from a German, one of the legion, 
who had been severely wounded, and lay next my berth 
in the hospital: He had served in a regiment of Swiss in the 
pay of Great Britain, whichhad been raised tojstop the progress 
of the French, in the early part of the revolutionary war, 
and had been with it in Italy and Corsica. They had been 
hurried, by forced marches, from Constance to Rome, in the 
depth of a severe winter, and suffered much. The French 
were in such superior numbers, that they were forced to 
fly before them until they were joined by the British under 
General Stewart, when they made a successful stand for some 
time,and had a great deal of hard fighting. It was duringone 
of these checks, after a severe action, that they lay for some 
weeks in an old castle, which they had fortified in the best 
manner they could. The French lay in front, in great 
force, their foraging parties scouring the country, and cutting 
off their supplies ; so that they were reduced to the most 
extreme want of provisions, and suffered sadly from the 
severity of the weather. The cold was most intense ; 
snow or sleet fell almost every day ; while firing was not to 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



101 



DC had. Their clothing almost wore out, great numbers were 
barefooted. Under such circumstances, it was with difficulty 
that human nature could bear up under its sufferings. The 
men became desperate, and numbers were falling sick, and 
dying every day. In the midst of these horrors, urged by 
extreme misery, three Germans conceived an idea the 
most repugnant to human nature that can be conceived by 
man, and put it in execution. One evening they were seen 
in deep consultation by their comrades, and, towards the 
middle of the night, they stole down to one of the vaults, 
of which there were many under the castle, and earnestly 
and fearlessly invoked the Devil to come to them, and 
enter into an agreement upon any terms he chose. All they 
would stipulate for was to be delivered from their present 
misery; but they called in vain no Devil or other appear- 
ance could they perceive, although they remained calling 
upon him for a long time. At length they left the vault, 
much disappointed at their failure. It was remarked by all 
the regiment for they told what they had been about 
that none of the three survived any length of time after 
this, and all died by uncommon modes. The first that fell 
was Gualter Stulzer. That very night he awoke in his sleep, 
and, starting to his feet, shouted out, at the loudest pitch of 
his voice, in a manner that awoke all in the hall, and made 
us tremble ' Ho ! ho ! you are come at length I am your 
man ; take me anywhere, only take me hence ; and fell 
upon his face. When the day broke, we found him quite 
dead. We thought he had been in a dream. Not one of us 
could have risen to assist him, had we thought he was not, 
for all was dark, and we thought the Evil One was present 
in the room. The two others, who were not in the same 
part of the building, we had no doubt were in the same state, 
until we saw them alive and well in the morning. A few 
days after this melancholy event, another of them was found 
dead at his post, with horror most strongly expressed on his 
countenance. The third survived only until we reached 
Corsica, where he was hanged for a cruel murder, a short 
time after our landing. And thus perished these three 
desperate men the only instance really authentic of the 
kind I ever heard of in all my life." 

" His presence," said Margaret, " be aboot us a', to keep 
us frae evil ! Ye hae made my flesh creep on my banes. 
Surely, my bairn, they must hae been Pagans. We read, in 
the blessed Word, that Esau sold his birthright for a mess 
of potage. But men to gang an' offer to sell their sauls to the 
Evil One ! Ohon ! ohon !" 

" No one can say," replied James, " what he will or will 
not do, until the hour of trial is past. These Germans 
gave implicit belief to stories of diablerie and witchcraft, 
and hoped to be relieved from their sufferings by becom- 
ing warlocks. You yourself are not free from the belief 
that such things have been." 

" I maun first doubt my Bible, Jamie," said she, <f ere 
I doubt ony sic thing. Hae we no a commandment against 
witchcraft, an' a pattern o' what they were in the Witch o' 
Endor ? Hae I no kent folk that werena canny, mysel ? I 
only wonder he camna at their ca', to seal the bargain wi' 
them. I may say I ken o' nane at present that has a very 
ill name ; but, -when I was a young lass, Ellen Graeme was 
feared owre a' the kintry side for her unholy power, after 
she witched Bauldy Scott, the minister's man, for some- 
thing he had either said or done to her. She had a bauld 
an' bitter tongue in her head ; an', after gieing him ill 
names until she was tired, she spat at him, an' ended wi' 
saying ' Bauldy Scott, mind my words ! ye'll rue, ere 
lang, meddling wi' me.' Bauldy only leuch at her ; but 
didna feel owre easy, for a' that weel, a day or twa 
after the collyshangie wi' Ellen, he nad to gang to Hawick, 
on some business about a web he had been weaving for 
the bailie's wife. A' went weel aneuch until he was comin 
hame in the evenin, whan, just as he was in the middle o' 



the hills for he took the shortest cut hame he met wi' a 
muckle black tyke o' a dog, that looked hard an' sair at 
him, an' followed whether he wad or no. He feared to 
clod it ; for it was an unsonsy like beast, an' he had a 
druther that it wasna a canny creature. Bauldy took fer- 
vently to prayer an' psalm-singin, an the dog soon left 
him ; but he was nae sooner oot o' sicht, than there cam 
on sic a mist that he fairly tint his gaet, an' wandered 
he knew not where, until, wi' perfect fatigue, he sat doon 
on a stane. The nicht was closing in fast upon him, an' 
he kendna whither he had dandered nearer or farther frae 
hame. There he sat, whiles praying, whiles thinkin on 
his wife an' weans, but oftener o' Ellen Graeme an' her 
threat, an' the awesome black dog he had met. He was 
like to gang demented. The time hung sae dreich on his 
hand, he thocht the world was standin still. He dared 
na open his een, for fear he might be scaured by some 
awesome sicht. So still was all around him, that the very 
beatin o' his ain heart sounded in his lugs like a death 
watch. This grave-like calm an' stillness, became to him 
waur than ony noise could hae been ; an', to mak a lang 
tale short, there he sat on the stane until the gray o' the 
mornin. An' whar was't, do ye think, he had been sittin the 
lee-lang nicht ? No a hunder yards frae his ain door, on 
the big stane that Stan's by the kirk-stile at the self an' 
same spot where Ellen Graeme had threatened him ! That 
he had been bewitched, few in the parish doubted ; an' he 
himself believed, until the day o' his death, that he had 
seen the Evil One in the form o' the black dog, wha, being 
forced to flee by the force o' his prayers, had raised the 
mist, to bewilder an' prevent his gettin hame. He made 
a lang complaint to the minister against Ellen ; but he 
wadna tak it up, an' only laughed at Bauldy, an' said 
' Are ye sure ye didna pree owre deep o' the yill in Hawick, 
Bauldy ?' Now, this was warst o' a' ; for, puir man, he had 
baith the skaith an' the scorn ; but few thocht waur o' the 
minister for no takin up Bauldy's case." 

" It may be as you say, mother," said James " I never 
thought seriously on the subject ; but this I know I never 
felt so comfortable, when sentinel upon a lonely outpost, 
as I did in garrison or in camp. I remember once, while 
we lay in the valley of Roncesvalles, a short time before 
we entered France, I was on duty upon an outpost, with 
the enemy in front. I had almost made a fool of myself 
by giving a false alarm. I never was so much out of sorts 
in my life with real terror ; I shook like a dog in a wet 
sack. My station was an old building, a complete ruin, 
without roof, and not more than six feet of wall standing 
in any part of it ; so that, with a glance of my eye, I 
could examine recesses of the interior. My turn came at 
twelve o'clock. The orders were to allow no one to 
advance without the word and countersign ; and if any 
movement was perceived in the enemy's lines, to fire off 
my piece, and fall back upon the mainguard. I had been 
upon my station for about half-an-hour, or better, musing 
upon various things but Jeanie and you were ever upper- 
most in my thoughts. Suddenly, a strange sound fell upon 
my ear. I could not distinguish whether it was a sigh or a 
low moan. I became all attention for a recurrence of the 
sound, and cocked my musket. Never did the click fall 
so loud upon my ear. Thus I stood at post, gazing, with 
eyes almost starting from their sockets, around me. It did 
not recur again While I stood thus, I began to recover, 
and thought I had been deceived, uncocked my musket, 
and resumed my measured pace, peering on every side, 
and searching with my eyes, as far as the gloom of a starry 
night, without moonlight, would admit. I had not made 
above a dozen of turns upon my allotted bounds, when the 
same sounds fell upon my ears, but much more distinct. 
It was a heavy groan, and appeared to come from my right 
not in the direction of the enemy's lines. Again I cocked 



102 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



my musket. All was still as death after the groan. I 
stooped towards the ground, to listen ; but could discern no 
foot- tread upon it, or the smallest movement. I walked 
round the ruin, and examined it with care ; hut all was 
still and void. I looked in the direction I thought the 
sound had come from ; when, all at once, there appeared to 
rise out of the ground, at a short distance from me, a most 
uncouth figure. It had the appearance of a monk in his 
cloak, with the hood up, and a pair of horns upon his head. 
From the outline between me and the sky, so appalling was 
the vision, that I clapped my musket to my shoulder, and 
called, 'Who goes there ?' A heavy groan was the only 
reply ; and the whole disappeared into the ground as sud- 
denly as it had risen out of it. A cold sweat covered my 
whole body my knees knocked against each other, as I 
stood rooted to the spot. I would have fired, but had not 
the power at first ; and, as I recovered, I was ashamed, 
as I knew my comrades would laugh at me, and the 
officers give no credit to my story. I had not the power 
to withdraw my eyes from the spot. Again I saw the 
same appearance rise out of the ground, but with more 
fearful distinctness, and gaze upon me, utter a groan, and 
again vanish. This was too much. I was almost over- 
come, when I heard the tread of the relief, advancing to 
change guard. My nerves were in a moment strung to 
energy again, by the sound of the human voice. Although, 
in a whisper, I related what I had witnessed to them, 
all were inclined to laugh, save he who was to take my 
place. However, it was agreed to go to the spot I pointed 
out, and examine it. When we reached the place, we 
found, behind some low bushes, scarcely, in the dark, to be 
discerned from the ground, a wounded mule, so weak that 
it could not rise from the ground upon its feet. At our 
approach, it attempted to rise ,- but could only elevate its 
fore -quarters, as it had been shot through the loins, and 
fell down again with a groan. None of us laughed more 
heartily than I did, at this elucidation of the fearful vision. 
These outpost duties often occurred, and we liked them 
worse than an action. So little did we dread fight, that I 
have heard the men say seriously, when they had lost even 
so trifling a necessary as a Rosatt, ' I wish we may have an 
action soon, that I may pick up one.' In action, so cool 
and steady had we become, that jests and remarks were 
made as freely, and with even more spirit than on a parade 
or in the barrack-room. In an affair of outposts, the 
sharpest I was ever in, and when the balls were whistling 
around us like grasshoppers on a sunny bank, James 
Graham, my left-hand man, said 

" ' Blair, they have hit me at last, confound them ! and 
broke some of my ribs- I both heard and felt them crack 
like pipe-staples ; but I will have a shot or two while I can 
stand to them.* After a few minutes, he said ' They 
have hit, but not cut me. There is no blood on my 
trowsers ; yet my breast is confounded sore.' He put his 
hand into a pocket he had in the breast of his coat, and 
pulled out a favourite knife, stamped on the ground in 
anger, and cried ' Oh, the French blackguards ! they 
have broken my knife, and I bought it in the High Street 
of Edinburgh !' And he resumed his fire, if possible, with 
redoubled energy, taking as cool and deliberate an aim as 
if he had been firing at a target, for a prize, in his native 
village. 

" In the same skirmish, James Paterson's bonnet fell over 
the wall which we were lining, as he was taking out 
some cartridges, to place them in his breast. The enemy 
were in triple force not one hundred yards from the other 
side. 

" ' I shan't go bare-headed for all that/ said he, and 
leant his musket against the wall, climbed over it, gathered 
up his ammunition as calmly as if he had been in the 
barrack-yard, placed his bonnet on his head and leaped 



back unhurt. An aid-de.camp, who rode past at the time, 
cried out to us 

" ' Well done, my brave men ! they may march over youi 
bodies, but they cannot drive you back.' 

" We gave him three cheers, and the enemy soon after 
fell back. But, Jeanie, lassie, I fear you think I am boast- 
ing far too much of myself and comrades. I would not 
speak to you of a soldier's, life, were it not that you, my 
friend, invite me to it ; but I assure you that those parts 
of it which are most dreaded by the people at home, have 
in them great interest, and serve to enliven the otherwise 
monotonous duties of a campaign in an enemy's country, 
where our fatigues, in marching and counter-marching, are 
scarce bearable. If we found any fault with the general, in 
our private conversation, it was, that we had not fighting 
enough. Our opinion was the hotter war, the sooner peace ; 
and we always felt a consciousness of being able to beat 
the enemy, if we were only led on." 

*."O Jamie, my bairn," said Margaret, "evil communi- 
cations corrupt good manners. I wadna hae believed, had 
onybody but yersel tauld me, yer nature could hae changed 
sae mickle as to tak delight in sic a life. My heart is sair to 
hear ye speak wi' sae mickle relish o' sic bloody wark." 

" Mother, you wrong me," replied the veteran. f: I 
rejoice that there is now no call for such doings. While I 
was in Spain, my heart was ever here, with you and Jeanie. 
I cannot help feeling my blood move quicker in my veins 
when I recall these moments of intense excitement. It is 
all the reward I shall ever have for my fatigues and wounds. 
We felt that we fought in Spain to keep the battle from 
our own beloved homes ; and the scenes of rapine and 
desolation we witnessed there gave us double energy for 
the foe that ravaged the fields of Spain had long threatened 
the land of our fathers, where all we held dear remained. 
A short time before the siege of Burgos, a party of our 
regiment Avere sent as a convoy to some stores. We halted 
at a village, where a foraging party of the French had 
been only a few hours before. Every house was a scene of 
ruin and blood. In one cottage that we entered, we found 
a beautiful young female sitting upon the ground weeping 
over the bodies of her murdered father and brother, who 
had fallen defending her from the violence of the French 
soldiers. As the evening was soon to be upon us, we were 
halted until day-break in the morning. Donald Ross, 
one of the men in our company, was particularly struck with 
the charms of the female ; and, somehow or other, became 
so intimate with her, that she agreed to go with him, as 
soon as she had buried her father and brother and she 
was as good as her word. Donald being a Roman Catholic, 
they were married by a Spanish priest, and lived happy 
enough for some time. While we lay at Abrantes, a party of 
Spanish guerillas came into the town. All at once, Mari- 
tornes became very dull and uneasy. Donald,, at his coming 
home, often found her in tears ; but she would not impart 
to him the cause of her distress. Ross, who loved her with 
all his heart, became himself uneasy upon her account. 
All at once she was amissing, and no accounts of her could 
be had, although diligent search was made for her. The 
guerillas were still in the neighbourhood of the town, and 
Donald suspected that she had gone to some of them, and 
resolved to go and make the necessary inquiries. On the 
morning of the day he was to have gone, having got leave 
from his officer, her body was found stabbed to the heart, 
concealed in a thicket near the town- Poor Donald wept 
over her body like an infant, and, aiter becoming a little 
more calm, swore a fearful vengeance on her murderer, 
should he ever meet him, and to do all in his power to 
discover the cruel perpetrator. The day following her 
interment, as he was indulging his grief for her loss^ and 
thinking of means to trace her destroyer near the spot where 
her body had been found, one of the guerillas started 



TALES OF THE BOKDEilS. 



from behind a tree, and thrust a knife at his bosom. Fortu- 
nately it struck his breast plate, and glanced off. In a twink- 
ling his bayonet was plunged to the socket in the body 
of the assassin, and he fell, grinding his teeth in rage and 
pain. Donald shouted for assistance, not to aid him in 
the strife, for his enemy was now helpless, and to all appear- 
ance dead at his feet ; but to assist in bearing him into the 
town, as he had an impression on his mind that this was 
the murderer of his beloved. Two of his comrades, who were 
in the neighbourhood, came to his aid, bore the wounded 
man into the town, and carried him to the hospital, where 
his wound, which proved to be mortal, was dressed. Before 
his death, he confessed the murder of Maritornes, and gave 
the following account of himself: His father had been 
a vine dresser, whose vineyard joined that of the parents 
of Maritornes, so that they had been brought up together 
from their earliest childhood. After he came to man's 
estate, the beauty of Maritornes had made a violent im- 
pression upon him ; but, being of a wild and unsettled turn 
of mind, her parents had disapproved of his attentions 
to her ; and she herself had never encouraged his addresses, 
but had always appeared uneasy and fearful in his presence. 
He had tried every method to win her affections in vain, 
and had been involved in several quarrels, upon her 
account, with the other youths, one of whom he had slain, 
and was forced to fly. The war breaking out soon after, he 
had joined one of the guerilla parties, and had never seen 
or heard of her since he left the village, until he found 
her the wife of a vile heretic, as he thought. The sight was 
too much for him, and he resolved to murder her ; for, he 
said, the hope of at one time or other winning her affections, 
had never forsaken his mind until then ; and he vowed the 
death of her, and her seducer, as he supposed Donald to 
be. She had seen and recognised her tormentor, which 
had been the cause of her distress. For several days he 
had tracked and watched her steps like a bloodhound, 
until he accomplished his horrid purpose ; and he shewed 
not the least contrition for the deed, but appeared to regret 
that he had not slain Donald also. It was long before Donald 
ceased to regret the death of Maritornes, or to think of her ; 
but it was perhaps wisely ordered for himself, for, after the 
battle of Bayonne was fought, and the peace made, the troops 
left for England. None of the men were allowed to take their 
Portuguese or Spanish wives out of the country along with 
them ; and there were several hundreds who had followed 
the army and clung to their husbands in all our privations, 
wherever we went. Poor things ! my heart bled for them. 
When the order came, it was one of the most heart-rending 
scenes to witness the distress of both parties the despair 
and waitings of the females, and the anguish of many of 
the men severals deserted, and all promised to return for 
these poor creatures, as soon as it was in their power. 
Many are the disconsolate females who still languish in 
their lonely homes, hoping in vain for the return of hus- 
bands they shall never see again, and who, if alive, only 
think of them now with indifference, or perhaps have 
heartlessly formed new ties. 

" Jamie, Jamie," said Jeanie, " it is not possible, I 
learn frae yoursel, to tell a pleasing tale o' war. They 
are all o* blood, injustice, and violence. It gradually steels 
the heart to the best feelings o' the human race, and does 
away wi' the sense o' right and wrong by a false plea o' 
necessity. Surely man is never placed, but by his ain evil 
passions, in a situation where it is necessary either to be 
unjust or cruel." 

" Let us forget, my love," said James, " that such things 
ever were, and look forward in hope. I hare, no doubt, 
the world once more to begin. I am not yet an old man ; 
and, if I am not rich in cash, I am richer in experience 
than many others who have been at home, and shall, 
by the blessing of God, do my endeavour to put to use 



my dear purchased wisdom, 
nate than poor Walter B 
known." 



103 

I shall then be more fortu- 
- and several others I have 



said 



" Dear Jamie, tell us about "Walter what o' him ?" 
Margaret. 

" There were severals in the army," continued James, 
" whom I knew as common soldiers, that had been born to 

rank and riches one in particular, Walter B . I will 

give you his lamentable story, as I had it from his own 
mouth in one of his fits of melancholy and repentance. 
We were on the heights above Roncesvalles, and the 
weather was more boisterous than I had ever seen it in 
my life anywhere : the gusts of wind blew down our 
tents, and the hail storms were so severe that we were 
forced to shelter ourselves from them by any means we 
could, and even the very mules were scarce able to endure 
their severity. He had been in one of his desponding fits 
for several days, and I had done all in my power to amuse 
him in vain. Towards the shades of evening, we sat shiver- 
ing and couring from the extreme cold, and, having given 
him an outline of my own history, he in return gave me 
his, nearly as follows : He was a native of England, and a 
relative of some of the oldest families in it. His father had 
been one of the established clergy, and held a rich living, 
beloved and respected for his benevolence and piety. 
Walter, who was an only son, had received as good an educa- 
tion as England could afford ; but, unfortunately for him- 
self, he was of an unsettled and extravagant disposition, and 
was always getting himself into disagreeable situations, 
from which he was always relieved, after a show of contri- 
tion, by his indulgent parent. Thus matters waxed worse 
and worse with him, until he could not from very shame 
apply to his forgiving father. He had lost a large sum of 
money at play in London, and had no means of liquidating 
the debt. In an agony of shame and remorse, he fled, and, 
having no means of maintaining himself, changed his name, 
and enlisted as a private soldier. His distressed parent, for 
several years, knew not whether he was dead or alive. Mat- 
ters remained thus with him until the arrival of a new 
chaplain to the regiment in which he was serving. Shortly 
after the chaplain joined, he recognised Walter, spoke to, 
and reasoned with him in a truly Christian spirit, and chid 
him for his cruelty to his parent, who continued to mourn 
his loss, and would, he had no doubt, once more receive him 
to his bosom, would he only promise to behave more circum- 
spectly in future, and express his sorrow for what he had 
done. Poor Walter was now heartily sick of his present 
situation, and requested the chaplain to write for him what 
he chose, and, upon the receipt of an answer from his father, 
he would do all in his power to regain his pardon and confi- 
dence. In a few weeks after, Walter got his discharge, and 
returned to his father's mansion, where he was received with 
joy and forgiveness. His parent only appeared to have lived 
to be blessed in the return of his prodigal son ; for he died 
in about three months after his return. Walter was his 
sole heir, and was now rich, as he had been lately poor 
while a private soldier. For a few months, he was all that 
his relations could have wished him reserved and penitent 
for his former follies, and most punctual in his religious 
duties. In this frame of mind he became attached to a 
young lady, the daughter of a neighbouring squire, rather 
his superior in rank and fortune. To her he was wed, and 
lived in happiness and peace for some months, when, un- 
fortunately, he paid a visit to London with his young wife ; 
and, as bad fortune would have it, he once again launched 
out into all his former extravagance, and soon became em- 
barrassed in his circumstances. An unsuccessful bet at a 
horse-race once more placed him in the same position he 
had been in at his first enlistment ; but his distress was 
tenfold greater, for his young and innocent wife was now 
a partaker in his misery. He solemnly declared to me he 



104 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



more than once resolved to put a period to his existence, 
bu.t was always prevented by some trivial interruption or 
other. At this critical period, an uncle of his wife's died, 
and she was his sole heir. Thus, once again, he was un- 
expectedly snatched from beggary, and was much richer 
than he was at his father's death ; but, alas for him ! not 
wiser ; for, with accelerated pace, he held on his former 
career, and the consequence was, that he was forced to 
leave his young and beautiful wife to the charity of her 
relations. Under his assumed name, he became my companion 
in t.'ie ranks a strange, interesting, even fearful com- 
panion, too, he was at times ; for he would occasionally 
be the most light-hearted and amusing person in the group ; 
at others, he was sullen and morose, scarce a monosyllable 
would escape his lips ; and, when irritated, the expressions 
he made use of were sublimely fearful, such as a devil 
might have used, making even the most depraved of the 
men quail. Yet, when in his quiet and gentle moods, I 
have listened to his discourse with rapture. One hour of 
his conversation conveyed more information to my mind 
than a month of reading could have done. I have seen 
him, when we were alone, weep like a child over his fallen 
foi tunes ; then, the next moment, knit his brows, compress 
his lips, clench his fists, and stamp upon the ground, and call 
upon death to deliver him from his own thoughts. Times 
out of number I have heard him express a wish that he 
might fall in the next action. He had escaped with- 
out a scratch until the battle of Bayonne. Well do I re- 
member the conversation we had the evening before. It 
were tedious to repeat it ; but he expressed his fears that 
the enemy would miss him, and declared to me his firm 
determination to desert and remain in Spain (he spoke the 
language like a native) rather than return to England ; 
for there was a rumour in the camp at the time of the 
reverses of Bonaparte, and the anticipations of a speedy 
peace. Towards the close of the action, we had driven in 
the opposing column, and the fire had slackened; hundreds 
of dead and wounded lay around us, for the affair had been 
very sharp. 

" ' Blair,' said he, ' I knew they could not hit me ; I 
must live on in misery.' 

" Scarce were the words spoken when he fell upon his 
face. I stopped and turned him on his back ; his eyes were 
fixed in death ; his countenance more placid and resigned 
than I ever remember to have seen it ; he grasped my 
hand, his lips moved, but the noise of the firing deadened 
his voice. I placed my ear to his lips, and could just make 
out 

" ' James, I am now happy. Gracious God, pardon your 
erring creature !' 

" A slight shiver passed over his frame and all was over. 
What his real name was I never knew, or I would have 
written to his wife. Such were his talents that, had his 
mind been well regulated, there was no effort that man 
can accomplish he was not capable of ; but, alas ! he per- 
ished, the victim of his uncontrolled passions." 

Here ended the soldier's narratives. James Blair had 
returned, and in health, but he had not found hap- 
piness, neither had his mother or cousin ; yet his hopes 
were most reasonable. He had only attained one object 
to find another more difficult to attain, humble as that 
object is a way to earn his daily bread. Matters were 
in this state, when a rumour spread through the par- 
ish that a captain had purchased an estate which had 
been for some time in the market, and meant to build a 
new house, and live constantly at it. This was a matter 
of great joy to us ; for it brought hope of employment, for 
a time at least, and James brightened up. The weather 
was no sooner favourable, than the new proprietor came to 
survey his purchase, and plan his improvements. A 
number of labourers were employed, and James among the 



rest; for he was first in his application. The captain, 
struck by his cleanly and military appearance, vras much 
taken with him, and inquired as to his services. James 
gave a modest account of them, and retired, the captain 
making no observations at the time ; but it was observed 
that he oftener stopped, and spoke to him, than to any other 
of his work people, and observed him more closely. Still 
nothing uncommon had occurred to James, more than the 
rest. He received his wages the same as the others, and 
was most assiduous to please, and give satisfaction to his 
employer. Since his return he had been most punctual in 
his attendance at church, and zealous in his religioua 
duties for he felt all the heart-consoling comforts they 
are calculated to bestow ; and thus had won back to him- 
self the approbation of his own mind, and the esteem of 
others, who had formerly thought very lightly of his 
principles and conduct. His employer was not less 
observant of him than those who had known him from his 
youth, and was most particular in his inquiries. Our 
worthy minister, who had, with a shepherd's care, watched 
over his flock, and knew them all their virtues and their 
frailties checking one, and encouraging the other, was 
much pleased with the returned veteran, and spoke to the 
captain of him as he felt. 

The consequence was, that James (who, before he went 
from among us, was well skilled in all the branches of agri- 
cultural labour) was appointed grieve, by the new proprietor, 
over his estate, towards the end of the harvest, and put into 
possession of a neat house before the winter commenced. 
All obstructions to his wedding with Jeanie Aitken were 
now removed ; they were, married, and after the wedding, 
she left the widow's cottage for her own house, a happy 
bride; but the Widow Blair would not leave her cottage 
to live with them. Years thus rolled on ; James's family 
had increased to three, two boys and a girl, when Widow 
Blair paid the debt of nature, and was buried beside 
her husband. James had accumulated a small sum of 
money by his industry and strict economy, when his excel- 
lent and worthy master died suddenly, and he was again 
without a way to live, though in much better circum- 
stances than when he had first returned. He was now 
undera greater necessity to exert himself, but he could not at 
once make up his mind as to the manner. He, at last, 
resolved to emigrate. His only difficulty was where to 
choose the Canadas or Australia. While he remained 
in this doubt, making the most anxious inquiries, a gentle- 
man came to our minister, to make inquiries for steady 
and skilful shepherds, to look after some flocks he was pro- 
prietor of near Sidney. James Blair was the first man the 
minister spoke of, as he knew what were James's inten- 
tions at the time. He was at once engaged, and set sail 
towards the fall of the leaf. I have parted with relations 
and dearest friends, but never did I feel a sharper throe 
than when I last bade farewell to James Blair and Jeanie 
Aitken. 

But I have often a letter from them. In my last, James 
says he is prosperous far above his deserts. He is sole 
proprietor of thousands of sheep of the best breed ; has 
the range of more land than he can ride round in a 
long day, and hints that I might do worse than join him ; 
but my time of removal has gone by. 




TALES 



WILSON'S 

tori, flFvatrtttonarg, an& 

OF THE BOR 

AND OF SCOTLAND. 



ERS, 



GEORDIE BINKS, THE KING'S JESTER. 

" Is yer Highness gaun oot a-huntin the day ?" said a squat, 
odd-looking personage, in a strange, party-coloured coat, 
and otherwise fantastically dressed " Is yer Highness 
gaun oot a-huntin the day ?" he said, looking upwards, and 
addressing, from the courtyard of Falkland Palace, a person 
who was listlessly leaning over a window that overlooked 
the said yard, and which was also right over the spot where 
the querist stood the period of our story, we may as well 
here add, being the year 1512. 

" Why, I think I shall, Geordie," was the reply of the 
person spoken to. 

" I wadna care to gang wi' ye, if I thocht the day wad 
haud up," rejoined he of the party-coloured coat, at the 
same time cursorily scanning the sky, to ascertain what 
promise was there held out of the approaching weather. 

"You're mighty obliging mighty condescending indeed, 
Geordie," replied the person at the window, with a good- 
natured smile j and that Geordie was so, the reader, we doubt 
not, will also be of opinion, when he is told that he who 
made the remark was no less a personage than James IV. 
of Scotland, and he to whom it was made no other than 
Geordie Binks, his Majesty's familiar or fool, as he was 
called, although there was just barely as much of that 
about him as to entitle him to this flattering distinction. 
Geordie certainly did often say and do sufficiently absurd 
things. He had " a want," as we say in Scotland here ; 
but this want was compensated, in part, by a singular kind 
of shrewdness, some blunt, ready, natural wit, and a great 
deal of dry sarcastic humour. But of all Geordie's qualities, 
there was none that his royal master was so delighted with, 
as a certain free and easy way he had, which no presence, 
however elevated, could in the least abash or discompose. 
Geordie, in truth, seemed to be totally destitute of the 
organ of veneration. He cared for nobody, and never was 
restrained, by any circumstances, from speaking out what 
came uppermost. All his bearing, in short, indicated a 
feeling, on his own part, of perfect equality with all those 
around him, or, at least, of a total indifference to rank or 
pretension, whatever these might be, or by whomsoever 
held or put forth. It is true that Geordie often canied 
this independent spirit of his a great deal too far, and, by 
its imprudent exercise, frequently brought a frown on the 
royal brow ; but this frown, which could awe all others, 
ha'd no effect on Geordie. He was totally impervious to 
reproof, and never failed to remove the royal displeasure, 
almost as soon as excited, by some blunt, whimsical remark 
or other, for which he was never at a loss. 

To return to the colloquy which this digression has in- 
terrupted. Geordie, in reply to the King's acknowledge- 
ment of his condescension, said gravely, and with an air of 
apparent utter unconsciousness of the irony 

" That it was nae obligation at a', and, as to the conde- 
scension, that he was nane o' yer proud folk, wha war ay 
seekin the company o' their betters ; and that, for his part, 
he wasna ashamed to be seen wi' his Highness onywhere." 

''Excellent, Geordie, excellent," said James, laughing 
heartily at the amusing nonchalance of his priviWed official. 
170. VOL. IV 



" Humility is a beautiful thing, Geordie, and sits on you 
with peculiar grace." 

" I hae aye been remarkable for't," replied Geordie. 
' ; We should never forget what's due to oor fellow-craturs, 
whatever station o' life they may be in." 

" On my word, a most just remark, Geordie," said 
James ; " but, an' ye intend joining us to-day, you had 
best go and get yer hunting gear in order." 

" Guid advice," replied Geordie ; " but is't to be hound 
or hawk?" 

" Hound, Geordie hound. We'll try the deer to-day." 

" That's no just sae suitable, as yer Highness kens I'm 
nae great miracle o' a horseman. Could ye no mak it hawks 
the day, as I'm gaun wi' ye ?" 

" No, really, Geordie," replied the King, smiling. ( ' I'm 
sorry I cannot oblige you, as I have promised the French 
ambassador a day's sport with the dogs." 

" I think ye micht hae consulted me first. What's he, 
that peelgarlic o' a body, wi' legs nae thicker than drum 
sticks, and a wame as lank as an empty blether, that his 
pleasure should be consulted before his better's !" 

" Come, come, Geordie, thy tongue's getting loose, man," 
said James, with a slight degree of impatience. " Get ye 
to our equerry, and tell him from us to have a horse ready 
for thee. Let him choose one of the gentlest. Let me 
see." And the good-natured monarch paused for a mo- 
ment. " Ay, tell him to give thee Yarrow. She is docile 
as a lamb, and will suit thee admirably. And, harkee, 
Geordie," called James after the jester, who was already 
retiring to execute his master's command, " desire our 
equerry to come to us after ye have spoken with him." 

" I'll do that," replied Geordie ; and he proceeded on his 
errand. 

In a few minutes after Geordie's departure, the officer 
whom the King had through the former ordered to attend 
him, entered the apartment, and, bowing respectfully, 
awaited in silence James' commands. 

" I say, Napier," said the monarch, smiling, " Geordie 
Binks proposes doing us the honour of joining in our sport 
to-day." 

" He has told me so, your Highness," replied the officer ; 
" and has bespoke Yarrow, by your Highness' commands, J 
understand." 

" Yes, yes," said James ; " but don't you think we could 
manage to give him an animal with a trifle more mettle 
than Yarrow, so as to get a little amusement with Geordie, 
who is no great horseman, you know." 

" Why, easily, your Highness," replied the equerry. 
There's Stirling, there's Lady Jane, there's Mosstrooper, 




"Well, then, Napier, just choose such an animal for 
Geordie as you know is wanted. Not one, either, that is 
too fiery or unmanageable; for I would not have the 
simpleton injured ; but something with a little life in it. 
You understand me ?" 

" Perfectly, your Highness," replied the equerry, briefly, 
and withdrew. 

In less than an hour after this conrersation took place 



KM; 



TALKS 01*' 



IIORDERS. 



between llu- King and his ollieer, the open space in front 
of Falkland Palace was thronged \\illi (ho royal cavalcade 
ol ' |'"t I'-mcn ; horses, dogs, ami men nil i nlri mingled in 

juM.iisalld Miii'.y is 1 1'|| Moll. This dlSOlder, however, Was 
f.hoilly abated, liy ;in announcement, (hat. (lie Kill;:; \V!VS 
about tO iRUO 1'nini (lie I'alaee. Tin- clamour inslanlly 
ceased ; e\eiv 111. 111 threw himself .-n hi , horse ; the dogs 
Were held iii li\ llirii L.vpei . ; and :i!l wailed in respectful 
silence llic appe. nance nl' (lie Sn\ ci eign. lie e;nne forth, 
dressed ill H short, smlonl. of green OlOth, Irowsers ol' (lie 
Niiine. with russet hoots, :mil on his head ;i lionnel, with a 
Angle fe.ilhcr. and encircled by a gold hand. A swoid 
de|iended from Itis side, and lichind him was slung a, small 
limiting Imin el' silver, lackered inside \villi gold. On 
stepping i-iil ol' l!ic I'.ilace, .lames l>o\ved gi.ieel'ully (o Un- 
assembled s|Kir(sineii. amongst, whom were .several persons 
ol' i.iuL. .iii.l .1 host of retainers; and vaulted into his saddle, 
\\ilh an case, and agility Unit shewed ho\v well practised 

ho Was in e.|iieslii.m exercises. TllO loyal person, llOW- 

CMT, must not engross nil our attention; wo must not 
forget to say, lhal he ciuuo not forth nlono irom the palace 
on (his occasion. lie was accompanied by Olio whose 
gr.nc looks, dignified demeanour, and measured step, 
I'lesentcd a most laughable living caricature of the ro\al 
heariug. This person was no other than our friend, 
<J. 'oidie I'viiiks, who, walking close by the Kin;,', and copy - 
ing llis manner as nearly as he could, evidently desired (o 
en..'.i,' .1 share of (lie addition and respect paid to the 
Sovereign ; and, of the former, he certainly did secure a very 
fair proportion. Kor (his. < Jeordie was indehlcd to the very 
extramdinai \ and peculiar slyle of his outfit, wliieli con- 
sisted of a Ininliiijj dress, most sinjMilarly e\a!;:',eratcd in all 
i(^; details ; spurs half u yard long, u hunting horn like the 
orm of n fi(M) gallon still, and u sword (hat might have 
lone execution across the (Jncensl'crry. A flaming yel- 
low jerkin, \\ilh scarlet cull's and lacings, crossed by an 
enormously broad baldric, u pair of huge old boots like 
water slouns, and a hat or bonnet so loaded with feathers 
as to have lost all semblance to U covering for tllO head, 
completed (Jeordie's equipment. 

One simultaneous shout of laughter from the assembled 
sporlMuen, hailed the appearance of (his extraordinary 
figure; a reception this, however, which did not for a 
moment disturb the -jravily and serene compos'iio of its 
object. Having seen the Kin;-; mounted, (ieordie pro- 
ceeded, Avith stalely s|cp and unmoved countenance, 
touards Iho horse winch uas destined for him, and which 
a gromn held wait in;-; for him at a little distance. On ap- 
proacbiii!'- the animal. ( Jeordio Stood for n moment, and 
c\ed him with the look of ft connoisseur, at (he same time 
di.nving on his gloves with an air of dashing gallantry. 
After examining the horse for a lew seconds, a suspicion, 
excited by certain indications of wholly undesircd spirit in 
(ho animal, crossed (ieordie's mind. 

"That's no Yarrow. Jock," ho nt length said to the 
groom who held him. 

"No. Ccordie." replied the lad. who bad got bis cue ; 
" '\ arrow's dead lame. This is .lumper, as quiet a beast 
as ever chewed corn." 

"It may bo sac, lad." said (Jem-die, "hut I dinim like 
his name ; as little do I like the nianuMnrcs he's gaun on 
wi*. It bodes lue guid for me. 1 (loot ; but I suppose I 
maun just try him." 

Savin;: (his. (Jcordie put his foot into the stirrup, and, 
byUie assistance of the groom, was rolled into his saddle, 
amidst the shouts of the surroundin:-- scrvim; men. and the 
ill suppressed laughter of (ho King and' his attendant 
nobles. ll.mn:v been fairly fixed in his SCat, and the reins 
being put into his bands, (Jcordie joined the cavalcade, 
which was now in motion, and, ton ., throu r ,h 

the surrounding persons, took his \-\.\^ beside the 



Sovereign. During this time, however, short n$t it was, 
(Jeordie's horse had executed a. !-,real many more capers 
than his rider approved of; several of which were of SO 
violent, a nature as lo compel him to cling, with a death 
j'.iip. sometimes to the mane, and sometimes to (he pommel 
of (he saddle, to the no small entertainment of those who 
witnessed these desperale cli'orls of (he horseman to main- 
lain his precarious position. 1 1 was after one of tllCSC pcr- 
foi mances of Jumper, that (Jeordie, going as close to his 
master as he could, whispered, in a confidential manner, 
into his ear 

" Faith, your Highness, I'm feard we'll bo a' alVronled 
I he-Mthcr wi' this infernal bruto I hao gotten. He'll liao 
me doon as sure as dockcns, an' (liat'll be seen, As it is, 
your court's getting into disgrace. Time lantern-jawed 
i.>ici ; .,nei-s will report to their king this exposure of a cour- 
(icr. It's discreditable (o us a'." 

At this moment, Ocordie's attention was again suddenly 
called to his safety, by a new series of evolutions on the 
part of Jumper. These were, on tins occasion, of a still 
more lively character than any that had preceded them; 
and, of course, demanded an increased exertion on the part. 
of the rider to counteract (heir object, which, he, had no 
doubt, was to floor him. Fully impressed with this belief, 
ho now dropped the bridle altoget her, and, sei/.ing Un- 
saddle wiih both hands, in that position submitted to be 
knocked to and fro by the various rearings of Jumper, 
who, at one time, flinging up his hind legs, threw him for- 
ward over bis cars, and at another pitched him nearly over 
liis tail, by raising his fore-legs up into the air. During 
these operations, ( Jeordie was calling on the by-standcrs 
loudly but vainly for assistance, who had now formed n 
ring around him, nt once to admire at leisure, and to give 
free scope to his equestrian performances. 

"llaud the brute, baud the curst brute, some o' ye!" 
exclaimed Ucordic, with desperate energy; "yer High- 
ness, yo micht do't ycrsel. I'm sure I wad do as muckle 
lor you. Lord, (hero ho coos again!" (After a mo- 
mentary cessation of Jumpers movements.) "He'll hao 
the barns oot o' me before he halts. Grip, curse ye ! grip, 
some o* ye culroons !" 

And now really beginning to fear some unhappy result, 
the King made a signal to an attendant to rule up to 
(Jeordie's assistance. This person seizing the bridle, led 
on the horse a little, when both be and his rider regained 
a little composure; and something like a promise appeared, 
on the part of the former, that he would keen quiet for a 
while, and allow (ioordie to sit him in peace. Matters thus 
adjusted, (Jeordie resumed his place near his master, and 
the eu ilcadc again moved on. 

"Faith, yer Highness, yon was a collysbangy !" said 
the jester, who bad now regained some ease of mind, ns 
.lumper was continuing to move very quietly under him. 
" As sair a trussle as I've had for a while." 

" You stuck to him admirably, (Jeordie," said James, 
laughing. 

"J.iKc a burr on a bannct." replied (Jeordie. "I 
was determined to keep the grip, come o't what like't. 
Hut, I say, your Highness, is there ony provender wi' US? 
Did yer Highness gic ony orders to that elfeck?" 

"t did, (Jcordie." replied .lames. "There's store of 
good tilings coming after us, on sumpters : but. met bought, 
your first inquiry in that way would have been after liquor, 
man." 

"Policy, yer Highness policy. It doesna look wcel 
to be craikin after drink. Noo, in such cases as this, 1 
ken wh.-ir there's coin, (be water 'II no be far afV. I 
inquire for the former. It saves appearances." 

Very ingenious. ( Jeordic very ingenious, on my word; 
but surely, man. \ ou cannot be either hungry or "thirsty. 
already." 



TALKS OF T11IO JJOKDEUS, 



' Haitli, as I'm a sinner, ycr Highness baiih. Yon 
knockin I got 's made me as dry 's :i whustle, ami t.lu- c.dler 
uir and exercise thegither as hungry 's a ha\vk Did ycr 
Hi 'Jmc-ss say the vivers war cinnin after us?" 

" I did, I did," replied the King, a little shortly ; for he 
was now engaged in conversation with I hi- French ambassa- 
dor, D'Oisseul, who rode on lhi> opposite side ol'liiin. 

Having ohtained this brief answer, (Jeordie might, now 
have hc'i'ii seen ullowing himself to drop gradually behind 
the cavalcade ; but he was not permitted to do this without 
remark. The proceeding excited some surprise, and culled 
forth various bantering salutations from the attendants of 
the hunting party, as (hey passed him, one alter another. 
This running lire', however, Geordio stood manfully; and 
rarely failed to give fully more than he got. lie also stood 
fast to his purpose, whatever that was, and held on until 
the last man had passed him. When this man had done 
so, Geordie slowly retraced his steps towards Falkland, 
until he had proceeded somewhere about half-a-mile, when 
the appearance of a party, consisting of three men and two 
horses, with panniers, approaching, arrested his progress. 
On seeing these, (k'ordio stopped short until they came up. 
They were the persons who had charge of the " provender." 

"Come awn, Inds come nwa," said (Jeordie, addressing 
the sutlers. "1 line been wuitin for ye this hour. There's 
(lie King, puir man ! wi' his tongue hingin oot wi' drouth 
like n dog in July, and no a drap o' drink o' ony kind to 
gie him. It's just heart-brenkin to see him. Turn me 
oot a bottle o' yer muscadel there instantor, and let me tak 
it till him. lie bade me wait on ye ibr't." 

At once obeying the royal order, which was not for n 
moment doubted, one of the purveyors instantly removed 
the cover from one of the panniers, and, plunging down 
his hand, drew out a bottle of the liquor demanded. 

" Ye may as weel gie me ane o' time chuckles, too," 
said (jeordie, to whose watchful eye the opening of the 
basket had exposed some roasted fowls. " He'll maybe 
tak a mouthfu wi' his drap drink." 

The fowl and some bread were also added to Geordie's 
slock of creature comforts, and with these he made oil', appar- 
ently to rejoin the royal hunting party but it was only ap- 
parently ; for he had no sooner got out of sight of the 
purveyors, than he struck off the road, and continued his 
divergent course until he came to a small, quiet, sequestered 
dell, which seemed suitable for the purpose he meditated. 
This purpose, as the reader may guess, was no other than 
to enjoy a little peaceable refection on the wine and victuals 
which he had so dexterously secured. Having fixed on 
the scene of his intended performances, Geordie dismounted, 
and, having secured his horse to a tree, sat him down on 
the grass, and proceeded with great deliberation to arrange 
the small preliminary matters of his proposed banquet. 
He first turned out the "chuckie," which he eyed for an 
instant with great satisfaction, turning it round and round 
the while ; then placed it before him, with an audibly ex- 
pressed opinion that "it was a noble fat ane." lie next 
produced the bottle or flask of muscadel wine ; but on this 
article he proceeded to immediate operations. Having ex- 
tracted the cork, he raised the richly .laden vessel to his 
lips, and held it there till his eyes began to stand in his 
head, and his upturned face to grow black "as he was 
drinking" for the want of that breath of which his intense 
efforts at suction deprived him. At length, however, being 
able to hold out no longer, he withdrew the delicious foun- 
tain ; and, having recovered respiration after two or three 
convulsive gasps, placed it down beside him with a 

"llech, by St Margaret, but that was a wully wangnt ! 
That's something like a drink. Glorious stuff! My fail.li, 
Geordie, lad, it's no every day ye fa' in wi' a soup like that. 
< >h, gin Lochleven war made o' such gear, an' me a troutin't!" 
Having thus expressed his sati.sf'ueuon with his liquor, 



107 

ie commenced operations on the fowl, continuing, at 
intervals, his application to the fla^k, until he had extracted 
tlu- last drop of its contents a feat which he had just 
accomplished, when he was startled by the sound of a 
horn at no great distance ; then by that of another, and 
another, in different, quarters, all around him. ' Faith, 
they're at it !" said (Jcordie, starting to his feel, or rather 
attempting to start to his feet ; for the muscadel was 
now bothering his upper works pretty considerably, and 
exciting a tendency to prostration, that ( Jeoidie found it 
extremely difficult to counteract. In this, however, he, 
after some strenuous efforts, .succeeded in the picsent in- 
stance, and got upon his legs. This clever trick performed 

u Faith, they're! at it," again said (Jeordie, hiceiiping 
at intervals, as ho spoke ; " they're at it, hcltcr skelter." 

And Geordie was right; seeing that he meant the chaso 
had begun. A deer had been started, and dogs and horse- 
men Ayero now sweeping over the face of tho country, liko 
a whirlwind, in pursuit of tho Hying prey. Tho chaso 
wa i ; coming in the very direction of (Jcordie's red-cat ; an. I, 
being avvaro of this, ho mounted as quickly as ho could, 
and rode gently to tho summit of the rising ground, which 
enclosed the little dell or hollow that had I. ecu tho loenfl 
of his refection. All thai, Geordio intended by this 
movement, was merely to ascertain precisely Avhat, wa:; 
going on; ho having no intention whatever of joining in 
tho chaso ; but this was a point, wherein ho Avas not to bo 
permitted to choose. (Jeordie had scarcely gained the 
summit of tho ravine, when (he hunted deer, a huge ani- 
mal, Avith antlers like the branch of an oak, rushed past 
him with tho speed of lightning, and plunged down into 
the strath which lay below. Confounded, and not a little 
alarmed by tho suddenness of tho visitation, Geordio 
hastened to turn his horse in an opposite direction, and 
began kicking, and urging him to get out of tho lino of 
tho chase, which ho knew would be followed up in tho 
precise track of tho deer. But his efforts in this Avay were 
made in vain. Jumper, Avho was an old hand at tho 
sports of tho field, apparently understanding what was 
going on, and shewing strong symptoms of a desire to 
take a share in tho sport, got restive on his rider's hands, 
and not only peremptorily refused to go cither to tho 
right or to the left, but displayed a violent inclination to 
start off' at full gallop, in the direction Avhich the deer had 
taken. All this, Geordie, Avith great alarm, perceived, and 
he would have instantly dismounted ; but Juniper's motions 
Avcrc now far too lively to permit of this ; and, find i ng it 
so, his rider had nothing for it but to combat his inclina- 
tions as Avcll as he could. Tho question now Avas, then, 
whether Geordio or Jumper should prevail ; and it was 
being eagerly disputed by both parties, when a circum- 
stance occurred that settled it at once, and in favour of the 
latter. This Avas the approach of the dogs and horses of 
tho sportsmen. They came sweeping on liko a hurricane, 
and in tin instant Geordie Avas in the midst of them. In 
the next, notwithstanding some desperate efforts to prevent. 
it, he was seen Hying along Avith tho body of tho chase. 
Geordie Avas now fairly in for it; and, to his great horror, 
ho felt that ho was so., Clinging by saddle and mane, 
and expressing his feelings, from time to time, in a series 
of tho most unearthly snouts, he was borne along, over 
hedge and ditch, with a velocity that a Avitch on a broom- 
stick might have envied. But Geordie, however involun- 
tarily, was gaining honour by his performances. Thanks 
to Jumper, no Avas the foremost man in the chace, and led 
on in a stylo which excited the unqualified approbation of 
his fellow sportsmen, who cheered him on with many a 
hilarous cry, and many a roar of laughter. Still holding 
fast, and still keeping tho van, (Jeordie held gallantly on 
his way, although we cannot say that, he either sufficiently 
appreciated tho cu. viable ness of his position, gr felt greatly 



108 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



elated by the honours it procured him. Be this as it 
may, Geordie kept the lead for a run of nearly fifteen 
miles ; and he would, undoubtedly, have kept it longer, had 
there been occasion but there was none. At the end cf 
a course of this extent, the deer was run down by the 
dogs, and Geordie was the first and only man in at the 
death. In half a minute after, however, he was joined by 
the King, who was decidedly the best horseman in Scot- 
land ; and in less than another half minute, a dozen of the 
most daring of the sportsmen were on the spot. 

" Hurra ! ye Diel's buckies !" exclaimed Geordie, trium- 
phantly, and in great excitation, so soon as he found he 
had an auditory ; " I kent I could do the thing, if I only 
ance entered into the spirit o't. It was a' that was wantin. 
Ye aye thocht little o' Jumper ; but, my faith, ye saw how 
I made him spin. Just gie him plenty o' heel as I did, 
an' there's no a better horse in a' your aucht," (this was 
addressed to the King,) " although he does tak some pushin 
on. But there's just a way o' thae things." 

From all this the reader will observe that Geordie had 
ingeniously, and with no small degree of presence of mind, 
assumed a decided intention of making a merit of his ac- 
cident, and of passing off his involuntary feat as a spontane- 
ous act. This certainly was the case ; and it was at once 
perceived and appreciated by his audience, who, delighted 
with his ready effrontery, tumultuously surrounded him, 
and congratulated him, with noisy glee, on the singular 
boldness and skill which he had displayed. 

" Heel, heel, heel, and a grip," replied Geordie, with 
brief didactic gravity ; " thae's the twa grand things in a 
rin like yon. Jumper wasna for takin the road at first ; 
but faith, frien, says I, gang ye maun, an' at your best too. 
It's my pleasure an' no yours that's to be consulted in the 
matter. We're no gaun to let oorsels be affronted afore 
thae lawn-loupers o' foreigners. Wi' that I gied him twa 
dings wi' the spurs ; sendin the rowels into the head every 
time, an' awa we gaed like a fire-flaught, an' here we are 
a' ticht an' richt, thack an' rape. But," added Geordie 
his real ideas an' natural feelings on the subject, obtain- 
ing utterance, whether he would or not " this huntin's 
a thing I dinna, after a, a' thegither approve o'. It's juist 
a temptin o' Providence, an' should be warily practeesed." 

Whatever objection, however, Geordie might have to 
hunting, he had none at all, as we have already seen, to 
good eating and drinking. It was, therefore, with no 
displeasure whatever, that he now heard orders given to 
some attendants to go out in quest of the sumpter horses, 
who had been following the chase, with what speed they 
might, and to hasten them forward to the ground then 
occupied by the hunting party ; and with still less displea- 
sure was it, that Geordie, in about an hour after, saw the 
said sumpter horses arrive, and the good things they 
carried, spread out on the grass, for the edification of the 
now hungry sportsmen. 

" Well, Geordie," said the monarch, eyeing the various 
edibles which were dispersed over a large snow-white 
cloth, that had been spread over a carefully-selected spot ; 
" well, Geordie," he said, " what will't have to eat ? That 
ride of thine must have given thee an appetite." 

" No muckle o' that, your Highness ; but wow, man, it 
has gien me an awfu thirst. I'm juist most shockin dry. 
My tongue's rattlin in my mouth like a mill-happer." 

" Well, what will't drink then, Geordie ?" 

" Ye'll no hae a drap muscadel aboot ye?" was the re- 
sponse, in a quiet, suppressed tone. 

" Oh, doubtless, doubtless," replied James ; " I say, 
Merchiestoun" 

" Never mind him, your Highness, never mind him ; 
gie yoursel nae trouble ; I'll tak onything that's at hand, 
onything, onything" here eagerly interposed Geordie, 
who haH reasons of his own for wishing no communica- 



tion of any kind to take pface on trie Subject of muscadel, 
of all others, between his master and Merchieston, who 
was the very man who had supplied him with the stores 
demanded for the King's use, but appropriated to his 
own, as already set forth. 

"No trouble at all, man. Hold that fool tongue of 
thine," replied the King, hastily ; " I say, Merchiestoun, 
come hither. Hast brought any muscadel with thee ?" 

" Here's a whaup in the rape," muttered Geordie, by 
way of an aside. 

" What dost stare at, sirrah ?" continued James, still ad- 
dressing his serving-man, who, instead of answering his 
query, was looking rather surprised at it, and simpering 
his perplexity. 

" Begging yer Highness' pardon," at length replied 
the man, who now began to smell a rat ; and this the more 
readily, that he thought, what was indeed true, that he 
perceived a considerable degree of obfuscation about 
Geordie " Begging yer Highness' pardon, but I thought 
your Highness had known that we had muscadel ; see- 
ing" 

"I say, man, dinna staun bletherin nonsense there," 
here again interposed Geordie, " but obey his Highness' 
order at ance, an' bring the wine he wants, if ye hae't.. 
This is neither time nor place for lang speeches." 

" Faith, and Geordie speaks wisely," said the monarch, 
smiling ; '' come, Merchiestoun, bring the wine hither 
without more ado, man, and give Geordie a deep cup of it, 
for he's gaizening." 

Merchiestoun, whose mouth had been thus dexterously 
shut just in the nick of time, before going off on his 
mission, shook his head angrily at Geordie which shake 
said as plainly as such sign could do, " I know the trick 
you have played, friend, and I'll be up sides with you yet 
for it. Take my word for that." To this threat by impli- 
cation, Geordie replied merely by touching the side of his 
nose impressively with his forefinger, and hanging out a 
gentle smile of derision. 

" He's a haverin guse that Sandy Merchiestoun," said 
Geordie, turning round to give his master the benefit of 
the remark ; but his master had left him. He had gone 
to take his place at the dejune. On discovering this, 
Geordie's reflections took another direction. " Faith, yon 
was touch an' go. Just as close sailin on the win' as 
there's ony occasion for. Naething like a wee hair o* pre- 
sence o' mind, for gettin a man oot o' a scrape. It'll bring 
ye as clean oot as a darnin needle through a worsit stockin. 
Is that the wine, Sandy ?" continued Geordie, but now 
addressing Merchiestoun, who was at this moment approach- 
ing with a flask in one hand, and a cup or goblet in the 
other ; " ye hae the King's order to gie me a waucht 
o't." 

" Hae ye had the King's order for a' the King's wine 
ye hae drank, Geordie ?" inquired Merchiestoun, sarcastic- 
ally. 

<( II ae ye^ Sandy ?" said Geordie slily. " I doot it." 

" That's no my question." 

<f But it's mine." 

" Ay, ay, but that'll no do, frien," quoth the defrauded 
serving man ; ' ' ye got a flask o' wine frae me this day ane 
o' the best that ever cam oot o' Falkland too under 
fause pretences: and I'm determined to expose your 
roguery." 

" Wow, man, out ye hae an ill tongue," replied Geordie, 
with perfect composure. " It's just scandalous to hear 
ye. Dear me, man, Sandy, what would folk think o' ye 
if they heard ye gaun on wi' that indecent nonsense? 
Come, lad, fill us oot that tass o' liquor, and I'll forgie ye 
for this time, although ye maunna repeat it." 

" Weel, confound your impudence," slowly and emphati- 
cally exclaimed the amazed servitor amazed at the con- 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



109 



summate effrontery that would place him in the situation 
of the offending party. " Ye'll forgie me ! By my troth, 
that's a guid ane. Do ye mean to mak oot that it was 
tie that swindled the flask o' wine ?" 

" It'll be lang or I accuse ye o* onything o' the kind, 
Sandy," replied Geordie, with a still unmoved countenance, 
" an' ye dinna accuse yoursel. No, no, I'm no the man 
to hurt onyhody's character, and still mair laith wad I be 
to hurt yours. Ye're safe aneuch for me, Sandy. But 
come, man, I say again, fill us oot a cup o' that stomach 
warmer ; for I'm spittin boddles." 

Finding it of no use to carry on the altercation, Mer- 
chiestoun, without saying another word, filled up a goblet, 
and, handing it to Geordie, expressed a benevolent wish, 
that it " might choke him." 

Having taken out his horn, and having subsequently 
picked up various other driblets out of ill-drained flasks, &c. 
for which he kept on the look-out, by going round and 
round the party who were regaling themselves, much as a 
shark keeps making the circuit of a ship, in the expecta- 
tion of prey Geordie soon found himself in a very com- 
fortable condition, and ready for anything but another hunt, 
to which no degree of excitation could reconcile him. 

This last, however, was a feeling by no means shared 
by the royal party, who, so soon as they had finished their 
repast, again took to horse, for the purpose of enjoying one 
other run, ere the day, which was now pretty far advanced, 
should draw to a close. In this proposed course, Master 
George determined not only to take no voluntary part, 
but no involuntary one either, and, in order to prevent 
this, he kept his horse secured to a tree till the whole 
cavalcade had got on horseback, and departed. Having 
given them a start of, as he calculated, about a mile, 
he mounted also, and began jogging on at his leisure, 
in the direction which the huntsmen had taken a course 
which he meant to pursue throughout the whole after- 
noon ; but accompanied by a determination always to 
maintain a respectful intervening distance between him- 
self and his friends. *Thus Geordie proceeded, and thus 
proceeded also, the party in advance of him ; the former 
obtaining, every now and then, assurance of his keeping 
the right direction by catching occasional glimpses of the 
latter in the distance. Thus, we say, they proceeded for 
about two hours, at the end of which time the faint sound 
of a horn intimated to Geordie that another deer had 
been started, and that the scene of the morning was about 
to be acted over again. Geordie prayed fervently that the 
" brute," as he called the unfortunate animal, might not 
come his way again and in this wish he was gratified ; 
for the chase took an entirely opposite direction, as was 
made manifest to him, by the increasing faintness of the 
sounds of the horns. These sounds, however, were not 
altogether so faint as not to reach the ear of Jumper, and 
thus causing his rider a good deal both of trouble and alarm. 
On observing his steed cock his ears at the first blast, Geordie 
began shouting over his neck in order to prevent any repeti- 
tion of the exciting sounds reaching him, and, by dint of 
this expedient, and some hard pulling, succeeded in re- 
straining him until all danger from that cause had ceased, 
in consequence of the rapidly increasing distance of the 
sportsmen. 

Of these, Geordie soon lost all trace ; but he con- 
tinued jogging leisurely on, in the direction which he be- 
lieved they had taken. While thus proceeding, and it 
might be about an hour after he had heard the last of the 
hunting party, Geordie, in threading his way cautiously 
through an extensive morass that lay directly in his 
route, was suddenly startled by some one calling in a loud 
voice " Hoa ! fool George fool, I say, hoa !" Geordie 
instantly drew bridle, and, looking in the direction whence 
the sounds proceeded, saw a man up nearly to his neck in 



the bog, and at the distance of about fifty yards from 
him. 

" Weel, freen, but ye hae gotten a pair o' breeks, at ony 
rate, be ye wha ye like." And, saying this, Geordie 
advanced towards the bust in the bog. On coining close 
up to it " Gude preserve me ! Maister Whustle, is that 
you ?" he said recognising in the unlucky wight before, 
or rather beneath him, no other than Monsieur d'Oisseul, 
the French ambassador. " Hoo the deevil got ye there, 
man ?" 

" Ah ! one dam countree this, my friend. All as soft as 
one custard, or one jelly. All de same as one dam mess 
of dirty pottage." 

"Dinna ye begin abusin parritch, or the country that 
produces it, Maister Whustle, or I'll maybe clink ye doon 
anither fit in the bog, an' that wad settle yer business, I'm 
thinkin." 

Between resentment at the freedom, or rather insolence, 
as he deemed it, of Geordie's language, and a most earnest 
desire to avail himself of his assistance in getting out oi 
his present awkward situation, the little Frenchman felt 
a good deal at a loss how to conduct himself. The latter 
feeling, however, getting at length the better of the for- 
mer, Monsieur d'Oisseul resolved to sacrifice his resentment 
to his safety ; and it was a prudent determination, as he 
could not possibly extricate himself without the assistance 
of some one. Being perfectly aware of this 

" Come, my good friend," he now said, assuming as 
gracious a look as his present circumstances would permit, 
"let me have your hand, and give me one strong pull out." 

" No ae inch, freen, till ye retract every word ye hae 
said against Scotland, an' against Scotland's best food, 
parritch," replied Geordie, with cool, composed determi- 
nation. 

" Veil, vat I shall say ?" rejoined Monsieur d'Oisseul, 
with a humility inspired by the advantage which he but 
too sensibly felt Geordie had over him. " You shall dictate, 
and I shall repeat." 

" What do ye mean by that ?" inquired Geordie, bluntly, 
not precisely understanding the terms employed by the 
ambassador. 

" Vy, you shall speak de vord, de apologie, an' I shall 
speak it after you." 

" Ou ay ; let me see, then." And Geordie began 
scratching his head, in considerable difficulty as to how he 
should proceed in this work of dictation. At length, find- 
ing he could make no better of it " Aweel, ye see, 
Maister Whustle," he said, "just say this, an' I'll be 
satisfied, an' pu' ye oot like a carrot ; for, atweel, ye're no 
muckle langer than a guid-sized ane. Just say this, 
Maister Whustle : Scotland's a guid, healthy, an' respect- 
able country ; an' parritch is a guid, wholesome, an' respect- 
able dish ; an' I'm sorry for havin misca'ed either the 
tane or the tither." 

Monsieur d'Oisseul having repeated Geordie's patriotic 
formula as closely to the original as he could, the latter 
instantly dismounted, and strenuously exerted himself in 
extricating the ambassador from his unpleasant situation 
a service which, after a good deal of pulling and hauling, he 
efficiently performed, by fairly landing him on a dry section 
of the morass. Having done this, he assisted Monsieur 
d'Oisseul in recapturing his horse, which was floundering 
in the swamp, at a little distance. In a short time after, 
the little Frenchman was again mounted, and Geordie, who 
was perfectly familiar with the localities of the place, 
having pointed out to -him a safe track, he started off at a 
gallop, to overtake the chase; but not before he had 
given Geordie a very handsome douceur, in the shape of a 
silk purse pretty well filled with both gold and silver 
coin. 

"Aweel/' said Geordie, holding up the purse, on the 



110 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



departure of the donor and making its contents dance to 
their own music, " wha wad hae ever thocht o' findin this 
in a moss ? Shut your mouths, ye tuneless brutes/' he con- 
tinued, and now apostrophizing some larks, and other little 
feathered minstrels that were warbling around him ; 
"there's no in a' yer nebs put thegither half the music 
that's here." And he made the contents of the purse jingle 
again with noisy glee. 

Having thus expressed the satisfaction he felt, Geordie 
secured his treasure beneath his jerkin, and, remounting 
Jumper, pursued his way through the morass. 

It was now getting late in the evening, and Geordie 
became aware that darkness would soon overtake him. 
For this, however, as he knew the way well, he did 
not feel much alarmed ; but it decided him on giving 
up all attempts at rejoining the hunting party, of which 
he had, long since, lost all trace, and making the best 
of his way to Falkland alone. Having come to this 
determination, he diverged from the route he had been 
hitherto pursuing, and struck down through a narrow 
glen, which abridged his journey by full two miles. By tak- 
ing this convenient course, he had to pass a certain solitary 
cottage that stood a little way above the lowest level of the 
valley, and which was in bad odour in the neighbourhood, 
as the houff of some loose, idle fellows, who were more 
than suspected of laying travellers under contribution, and 
practising various other kindred means of supplying the 
place of lawful industry. Though he did not like the idea of 
passing this cottage, the more especially that he had at 
the moment, what he had rarely ever had before, some 
superfluous cash about him ; yet he resolved on trying the 
adventure rather than take the longer route at such a late 
hour of the night. 

Having come to this resolution, then, he took the 
glen at a smart trot, in order to clear it as quickly as pos- 
sible, and had arrived within a hundred paces or so of the 
dreaded cottage, when his curiosity was excited by his 
horse's hoof striking against a piece of metal. Upon 
looking down he beheld a glittering object on the sward. 
It was of such a shape and size as to excite so much further 
the curiosity which its sound had first created, as to induce 
him to dismount for the purpose of examining it. He 
did so, and great was his amazement to find that it was 
the well-known hunting horn of the King. After looking 
for an instant in great surprise and no small perplexity, 
Geordie perceived that the chain by which it had been 
slung on the royal person bore evident marks of having 
been forcibly torn asunder ; and there were, besides, other 
indications of the separation of the horn from its owner 
having been a violent one. Another startling circumstance 
fell under his acute observation. The turf around where 
the horn had lain was much trampled and disturbed, as if 
there had been persons wrestling or struggling on the 
spot. What could all this mean ? 

" Something wrang here," said Geordie, again contem- 
plating the horn, and anon throwing an involuntary and 
almost unconscious glance at the little thatched house on 
the brae. " Something wrang here, be't what it likes," 
muttered he. " I wisli a' may be richt wi' his High- 
ness. I hae my ain doots o't. But I'll no leave him in 
the lurch if he be in ane, if a blast or twa o' his ain horn '11 
do him ony guid. Surely some o' the folk '11 no be far aff." 

But Geordie's suspicions and intentions require to be 
fully more explicitly stated than through the medium of 
his brief, disjointed soliloquies and this we proceed to do. 
Geordie, then, began to suspect that some mischief had 
befallen his royal master, and he believed that an explan- 
ation of it, and a discovery of its nature, would be found 
in the house of evil repute on the face of the glen. Im- 
pressed with this notion, he determined on sounding the 
King's horn, and of sounding, too, James' favourite, and, 



on this account, well-known reveille, which it happened 
he could imitate to great perfection, in the hope of bring- 
ing some of his escort to the spot. But Geordie wisely 
judged that it would be as well that he got out of harm's 
way himself before he sounded, since he was so near to 
the cottage that the blast could not fail to be heard by its 
inmates, and might thus bring enemies in place of friends 
around him. Acting on this precautionary idea, he first 
rode his horse into a retired spot at some distance from 
the cottage ; and, having there secured him to a bush, he 
next ascended on foot the hill that rose above, until he 
had got to a sufficient height to render his escape practi- 
cable if he should chance to be pursued, while his situation 
commanded such a view of the suspected cottage the 
only quarter whence he expected enemies to come that 
none could either come to or leave it without being seen 
by him. This, however, could not be long the case, as it 
was now fast getting dark. There was, therefore, no time 
to lose. Aware of this, Geordie hastened to select a spot 
favourable for his purpose that is, one that should com- 
mand as wide a range of sight and sound as possible ; and, 
having found such a place, he raised the horn to his lips, 
and blew a blast whose shrill tones made both mountain 
aud valley ring for many a mile. 

" That '11 gar some o' them jump, I'm thinkin, if they're 
ony o' them within soond o't," said Geordie, on with- 
drawing the horn from his lips. " That was a roarer, and I 
defy ony o' them to ken but it was the King blew't. It's 
every whilly-wha copied to a turn." 

Having thus expressed himself, he awaited the result 
of his alarum ; but nearly half-an-hour elapsed, and yet 
there was no result. No one appeared, nor did any reply- 
ing horn, or other sight or sound, intimate that the blast 
had been heard. 

" This is queer," said Geordie, whose patience was 
beginning to be exhausted. " I wad thocht naething o't 
if I had sounded my ain horn. That they wadna hae 
minded mair than the routin o' au auld cow, but I'm sure 
there's no a man o' them that doesna ken the tone o' the 
King's bugle as weel as they ken the clink o' their ain 
wives' tongues." Saying this, he once more raised the in- 
strument to his mouth, and drew another blast longer and 
yet shriller than the first ; and this time he did not sound 
in vain. The distant response of a horn fell faintly on his 
ear. Geordie, in a state of great excitement, sounded again, 
and again a reply, but louder and more distinct, was wafted 
towards him on the breeze. They were approaching. 
There was no doubt of that ; and, not doubting it, Geordie 
now continued sounding at short intervals, and with equal 
frequency was he replied to till at length he saw 

" Four-and- twenty belted knights come skipping owre the hill.'' 

It being now nearly pitch-dark, however, there was still 
a little difficulty in the parties coming together. 

" Hilloa, hilloa! where is your Highness?" shouted 
several of the cavaliers and retainers who had come up at 
full gallop to the spot, and were now flying about in all 
directions in search of the King. 

" Here, here, ye knaves," roared Geordie. " This way, 
this way !" And, in the next instant, half-a-dozen horse- 
men were within a yard of him, and the remainder hasten- 
ing towards the same spot ; but what was the surprise and 
disappointment of the party when they found, not the King, 
but Geordie Binks ! 

" It's Geordie Binks ! it s Geordie Binks ! and not the 
King !" flew from one to another, with shouts of laughter, 
and loud expressions of wrath, amazement, and derision, 
all intermingled. Taking the first word of jlytmg, and 
not altogether pleased with this greeting 

" Ay, ye think ye're a' aff yer eggs, do ye ? Ye think 
ye've been, on the wrang scent ?" said Geordie, with great 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



coolness ; " but yell maybe hn that I ken what I hae been 
doin." 

" What is the meaning of this, sirrah ?" here interposed 
the captain of the King's guard, who was one of the party, 
and whose momentary mirth on first recognising Geordie 
had changed, as in the case of all the others present, into 
intense anxiety for the safety of the King. " Where, or 
how got ye the King's horn, and where is his Highness ?" 

" That's a bonny string o' questions to put a' at ance 
and no owre ceevily puttin. Nevertheless, I'll answer ye 
the twa first. The third maun staun a wee." 

And Geordie proceeded to detail all the circumstances 
connected with his finding the King's horn, as already re- 
lated, and to explain the motives of his subsequent pro- 
ceedings. When he had concluded, he received as much 
commendation from those around him as he had had before 
of contumely. All praised his presence of mind and fore- 
thought, and gave him, in advance, the credit of having done 
his Sovereign an essential service. 

It was now determined that the suspected cottage should 
be silently surrounded without loss of time, and a forcible 
entrance made, if it was not willingly given, into the in- 
terior, to see if anything there could be discovered in 
connection with the King's mysterious disappearance. This 
measure being resolved upon, the assembled gentlemen and 
men-at-arms dismounted, and, leaving their horses in charge 
of two or three of the latt er, descended the hill, quickly but 
noiselessly. On reaching the bottom, the party, which 
consisted of seventeen persons in all, including Geordie, 
who insisted on taking a leading part, advanced in a close 
body, swords drawn, and in profound silence, on the cottage. 
In the same silence it was surrounded, when the captain 
of the guard, with one or two others, approaching the 
door, rapped loudly, and demanded instant admittance. 
Geordie, who was one of those at the door, also chimed 
in ; but it was in a characteristic way. Clapping his mouth 
to the key-hole " If ye be in there, yer Highness, keep 
up yer heart, and we'll be in at ye immediately. Here's 
plenty o' friens to tak ye oot o' yer trouble that is, if ye 
be there, and in ony." 

Having administered this encouragement and consola- 
tion, Geordie made way for the others to folloAV up whatever 
proceedings they intended. These now were, in the first 
place, to force the door, as no answer from within could be 
obtained. 

In a wretched apartment, dimly lighted by an almost 
exhausted fire, was found the King, extended at full length 
on the floor, his hands and feet strongly secured with cords, 
and a handkerchief so tightly tied over his mouth as not 
only to prevent him uttering any sound, but nearly to sup- 
press respiration. His eyes, also, were tightly bandaged. 
There were no other persons visible in the apartment. At 
first no doubt was entertained that the King was murdered, 
but a closer examination discovered that he was still alive. 

On this being ascertained, no time was lost in undoing 
the bands by which he was tied, when, to the infinite joy of 
those who had thus come so opportunely to his aid, he im- 
mediately rose to his feet apparently uninjured, although 
greatly exhausted. It was some time, however, before he 
could make any reply to the numerous and eager inquiries 
which were put to him by his attendants. When enabled 
to do this, he informed them that he had been attacked by 
four men at a short distance from where they then were ; 
that they had come suddenly upon him when riding a? one, 
before he had had time to draw his sword ; that one had 
seized the bridle of his horse, and that the other three had 
dragged him, after a severe struggle, to the ground ; that, 
having done this, they had stripped him of all the valu- 
ables about his person, then secured him in the manner in 
which he had been found. James added an expression of 
belief that they had intended ultimately to murder him, 



although he could not account for their delaying the com- 
mission of this additional crime. Such, in substance, was 
the narrative of the King regarding this very singular affair. 
When he had concluded, the attention of all became 
directed to the inquiry, Where were the perpetrators of this 
atrocity? There was no one to be seen. Meanwhile, 
Geordie was busy. 

" I say, lads, here's something queer," he said ; and, as 
he spoke, shewed, by a pressure of his foot on a corner of 
the large flagstone of the hearth, that it did not lie solidly 
in its place.^ " I've heard o' sic things as this before," 
added Geordie ; and now stooping down to apply his hands 
to the stone, in which he was joined by others, it was 
canted over, and discovered a large hole it could not be 
called a chamber in which, closely huddled together, were 
the four ruffians of whom they had been in search. " Ha, 
ha, my linties, are ye there ?" exclaimed Geordie, peering 
down into the pit ; " that's a nice bit cage for ye now. 
But come oot, my bonny birdies, an' tak a mouthfu o' the 
caller air. We've been a' wearyin sair to see ye." 

Geordie's banter, however, was quickly interrupted by 
the stern interference of some of the other members of the 
party ; who, threatening to cut the unfortunate wretches 
to pieces where they stood, compelled them instantly to 
ascend from their noisome retreat, which they did, one 
after the other, by means of a small side ladder, of six or 
eight steps, kept apparently for the purpose. On coming 
to the surface, the unhappy men were seized, each as 
they ascended, and their arms pinioned. This process com- 
pleted on them all, they were bound two and two together, 
and thus dispatched, with a guard of eight men, to Falk- 
land, to be afterwards dealt with as the law should direct. 

" Now, gentlemen," said the King, on this part of the 
strange business of the evening having been performed ; 
" now that we have time to advert to it, pray inform me to 
whom, or to what accident am I indebted for my rescue ?" 
The King soon found a respondent. 
" Wha does yer Highness think ye could be indebted 
to for such a thing, but me ? I wonder to hear ye. Ye 
owe yer escape to the four quarters o' Geordie Binks, an' 
to nae ither leevin mortal man, saunt or sinner." And 
Geordie, amidst frequent expressions of corroborative 
testimony from those around him, proceeded to relate, 
although with considerable prolixity, to the astonished, and, 
we may add, much amused monarch, the particulars con- 
nected with the latter's rescue, which are already before 
the reader. " An' now, sir," said Geordie, when he had 
finished, ' ' there ye are, guid be thankit ! as soun's a bell . 
no a hair the waur, only lookin' a wee whiter than usual 
aboot the gills ; an' a' through the marvellous courage, con- 
stancy, loyalty, forethocht, prudence, an' discretion o' 
Geordie Binks." 

tl We own it, Geordie, we own it most cheerfully," 
replied the King, laughing ; " and, depend upon it, it shall 
not be forgotten." 

" Weel, weel, your Highness, see that it bena. It's weel 
worth mindin, although I say't that shoulclna say't, maybe. 
But now, sirs, I'm awfu dry. Has nane o' ye sic a thing 
aboot ye, as a bit flask wi' onything in't ?" 

All, with expressions of regret, declared to Geordie that 
they had not such a thing about them ; but it was hinted 
to him that he would get as much liquor as he could 
swallow when he reached Falkland and with this consol- 
ation he was obliged to be satisfied. In a few minutes 
after, the whole party mounted, the King having got the 
horse of a retainer for his own had never been seen after 
he was attacked ; and, in due time, they arrived safely at 
Falkland, after a day of unusual bustle and adventure. 
Such a day, however, it had been, as Geordie swore he 
would never expose himself to again " although," he 
always added, " he had seen waur." 



112 



THE DEAD DEAL. 

THE best feature of a story is, after all, its truth ; and, how- 
ever much the fancy of man may travail in the production of 
plots and characters, we must always come back to the work- 
ing of our old mother Nature. Yet, of a verity, she herself 
is a strange coiner of inventions ; and, if it were not that 
she is so sober-looking a matron, especially at this time of 
the year, we would sometimes have very good grounds to 
doubt if she herself did not sometimes deal as much in 
fiction as ever did the famous Don Pinto of mendacious 
memory. In one instance which we are about to detail, 
she played off one of her tricks of invention with an art 
that no fictioneer out of China, where they ar>3 all liars 
together, could have done so well by a full hali In the old 
town of Dumfrieslived an individual called Simon M'William, 
a very good man, and as good a Christian to boot as one 
might see in a whole chancel of godly men on a Sunday. 
His religion was as sincere as a good heart could feel, and the 
actions of his life acknowledged in their uprightness the 
power of his good spirit ; yet was it a matter of verity, how- 
ever much it may savour of strangeness, that his holiness, 
no more than Dr Johnson's, ever took away from him the 
fear of death. 

This peculiarity in his character, and this alone, was the 
cause of some disputes between him and his wife Marga- 
ret, who was as good a Christian as Simon, but who, with 
the fortitude of her sex, when they get old, seemed to care 
no more for the big black angel than she did for the arch- 
enemy himself. Had it not been for this difference, 
these two godly persons might have been as happy as 
ever were man and wife in this lower world, or any 
other world of which Fontenelle has given an account. 
But this was an eternal source of disagreement. Somehow 
or another, Margaret was almost continually talking about 
the vanity of all things here, after the manner of the son 
of Sirach, or any other prophet. Arid from this she 
fell naturally into the subject of death, of whom she 
spoke as a good friend, that would, by and by, remove her 
and Simon from this sphere of suffering. Of a truth, it was 
as strange a sight as one could wish to see, in this province of 
wonders, this worthy pair engaged in this subject of conjugal 
polemics ; for, while the eye of the one brightened with 
the prospect of an immortality as pure as everlasting, 
which made her despise the pains of dissolution, the other 
gloomed like a cloud in November, shuddered with horror 
at the prospect of death and judgment, and taxed his better 
half, in his bitterness of spite, with a wish that he were 
gathered to his fathers. 

Now, it happened that Simon took ill, and was, indeed, 
just as ill as any man ought to be, when he calls for a 
physician ; but the never a physician he would send for, 
notwithstanding of all that Margaret could advance in favour 
of its expediency. He trembled at the very idea of being 
in danger ; and the face of a doctor was, he thought, no 
better than that of death himself. The opportunity, how- 
ever, thus presented, by the hand of God's affection, was 
too good a one to be let slip by Margaret, without turning 
it to account in behalf of Simon's soul. So she set to work 
with all the pith of her tongue, to array before him the 
consequences of death ; nor did she stop, although she saw 
him twisting himself like a snake beneath the clothes, and 
heard strong words of objurgation and spite come from his 
white lips, as he struggled with his anger and his fear. 

On a subsequent day, Simon had been dovering a little, 
and enjoying a respite from his terrors. Startled by some 
noise, he looked up, and whom should he see standing 
before him, and actually holding his pulse, but the doctor 
himself. He had come by the request of Margaret, who 
could not stand by, as she said, and see her husband die, 



without something being done for the safety of his body. 
Simon shuddered with terror, and bade the doctor begone 
but the doctor was a man of sense, and knew the 
infirmity of his patient. Simon grew worse and worse 
Margaret continued her devotional exercises, and spoke of 
death more and more. Visitors called daily, to ascertain 
how he was, and, as none durst approach him, to in- 
quire about his health, they were generally answered 
at the door, in such a manner as that he might not hear 
their inquiries. One day Margaret thought he had got 
worse than ever for he was lying apparently in a state of 
great weakness, with his eyes shut, and his mouth open, 
and other signs of dissolution about him ; but the truth was, 
that he was undergoing an improvement, by a process of 
nature's own, and the vis medicatrix was busy working in 
him a change for the better. At this moment it happened, 
in that curious way by which the imp Chance chooses to 
bring about coincidences, that Jenny Perkins a very 
officious body put in her head at Margaret's door, and 
asked how Simon was. Margaret shook her head, as any 
good wife would do, and looked as melancholy as if her face 
had been lengthened by the stretching process about to be 
applied to her husband. She had, however, a message for 
Jenny to perform, and thought proper to get her own 
request out before she answered by words that which had 
been put to her. 

" Run up, Jenny," she said, " to George Webster, and 
tell him he's wanted here immediately." 

Now, this George Webster was no other than an under- 
taker ; and Jenny, judging from the look, and the shake of 
the head of Margaret, that all was over with Simon, flew as 
fast as intelligence itself, and told George Webster to take 
down the " streeking board" to Simon M'William's upon 
the instant. This was an addition of Jenny's own ; for 
Margaret wanted the wright for another purpose entirely 
The command was complied with by two of George s 
men, who stalked away with the grim " deal," in the 
expectation of getting a " good dram," as is customary 
on stretching out the dead. As they went along, all the 
neighbours looked and gossiped, and set down Simon for 
dead ; and by the time they got to the door, Margaret had 
gone forth to the doctor's for some medicine which he was 
preparing for Simon. But the men cared nothing for the 
absence of the living it was the presence of the dead they 
wanted ; so in they stalked, and they never stopped till they 
were by the bedside of Simon. There they placed them- 
selves, like sentinels, with the dead deal standing between 
them, on its broad end, and the round head of it presented 
to the face of the patient. The noise awoke Simon. He 
opened his eyes ; saw the men standing before him with the 
dead deal in their hands, just as if he had been on the very 
eve of being stretched out. He seemed to doubt whether 
he was dead or alive ; for he stared a goodly time, without 
saying a single word ; but the men, seeing his eyelids move, 
and the eyes fixed upon them, took fright, and hurried 
away out of the room. We never heard described the feel- 
ings of Simon on this occasion. One thing is certain that 
he was still more satisfied that Margaret wished to bring 
death upon him, by presenting the object to both his senses 
of hearing and seeing ; but, in spite of her efforts, he got 
better, and lived afterwards for many years after he had thus 
seen his own " Dead Deal." 




WILSON'S 

Srvafctttonavg, anii 3inacs;watt&e 



TALES OF THE BORDERS, 



AND OF SCOTLAND. 



SKETCHES FROM A SURGEON'S NOTE-BOOK. 
CHAP. VIII THE CURED INGRATE. 

EVERY person who has studied, even in the most cursory 
manner, the checkered page of human life, must have ob"- 
served that there are in continual operation through man- 
kind some great secret, moral agents, whose powers are 
exerted within the heart, and beyond the reach of the con- 
sciousness or observation of the individual himself who is 
subject to their influence. There is a steadfastness of 
virtue in some high-minded men, which enables them ta 
resist the insidious temptations of the bad demon ; and there 
is also a stern stability of vice often found in the unfortunate 
outlaw, which disregards, for a time, the voice of conscience, 
and spurns the whispered wooing of the good principle, 
" charm it never so wisely " yet the real confessions of 
the hearts of those individuals, would shew traces enough 
of the agency of the unseen power to prove their want of 
title to an exception from the general rule which includes 
all the sons of Adam. We find also that extraordinary 
moral effects are often produced, in a dark and mysterious 
manner, from physical causes ; and every medical man has 
the power of recording, if he has had the faculty of ob- 
serving, changes in the minds, principles, and feelings of 
patients who have come through the fiery ordeal of a ter- 
rible disease, altogether unaccountable on any rules of phi- 
losophy yet discovered. 

Not many years ago, a well-dressed young woman called 
one evening upon me, and stated that her lady, whose name, 
she said, would be communicated by herself, had been ill for 
some days, and wished me to visit her privately. I asked 
her when sue required my attendance ; and got for answer, 
that she, the messenger, would conduct me to the residence 
of the patient, if it was convenient for me to go at that 
time. I was disengaged, and agreed to accompany the 
young woman as soon as I had given directions to my 
assistant regarding the preparation of some medicines, 
which required the application of chemical rules. To be 
ingenuous, I was a little curious to know the secret of this 
private call ; for, that there was a secret about it, was plain, 
from the words, and especially the manner of the young 
woman, who spoke mysteriously, and did not seem to wish 
any questions put to her on the subject of her mission. 
The night was dark, but the considerate messenger had 
provided a lantern ; and, to anticipate my scruples, she said 
that the distance we had to go would not render it necessary 
for me to take my carriage a five minutes' walk being 
sufficient to take us to our destination. 

Resigning myself to the guidance of my conductress, I 
requested her to lead the way, and we proceeded along two 
neighbouring streets of considerable length, and then turned 
up to ' Square a place where the rich and fashion- 
able part of the inhabitants of the town have their resid- 
At the mouth of a coach entry, which ran along 



ences. 



the gable of a large house, and apparently led to the 
back offices connected with the residence, the young woman 
stopped, and whispered to me to take care of my feet, as 
she was to take the liberty of leading me along a meuse lane, 
171. VOL IV. ' 



to a back entrance, through which I was to be conducted into 
the chamber of the sick lady. I obeyed her directions ; and, 
keeping close behind her, was led along the lane, and 
through several turns and windings which I feared I might 
not again be able to trace without a guide, until we came 
to a back door, when the young woman begging my par- 
don for her forwardness took hold of my hand, and led 
me along a dark passage, then up a stair, then along an- 
other passage, which was lighted by some wax tapers placed 
in recesses in the wall ; at the end of which, she softly 
opened a door, and ushered me into a very large bedroom, 
the magnificence of which was only partly revealed to me 
by a small lamp filled with aromatic oil, whose fragrance 
filled the apartment. The young woman walked quickly 
forward to a bed, hung with light green silk, damask 
curtains fringed with yellow silk, and luxuriously orna- 
mented with a superfluity of gilding ; and, drawing aside 
the curtains, she whispered a few words into the ear of some 
one lying there, apparently in distress ; and then hurried 
out of the room, leaving me standing on the floor, without 
introduction or explanation. 

The novelty of my position deprived me for a moment of 
my self-possession, and I stood stationary in the middle of 
the room, deliberating upon whether I should call back 
my conductress, and ask from her some explanation, or 
proceed forward to the couch, where, no doubt, my services 
were required ; but my hesitation was soon resolved, by 
the extraordinary appearance of an Indian-coloured female 
countenance, much emaciated, and lighted up with two 
bright orbs, occupying the interstice between the curtains, 
and beckoning me, apparently with a painful effort, for- 
ward. I obeyed, and, throwing open the large folds of 
damask, had as full a view of my extraordinary patient 
as the light that emanated from the perfumed lamp, and 
shone feebly on her dark countenance, would permit. She 
beckoned to me to take a chair, which stood by the side of 
the bed ; and, having complied with her mute request, I 
begged to know what was the complaint under which she 
laboured, that I might endeavour to yield her such relief 
as was in the power of our professional art. I thus limited 
my question to the nature of her disease, in the expectation 
that she herself would clear up the mystery which hung 
around the manner in which I was called, and introduced 
to so extraordinary a scene as that which was now before 
me. Her great weakness seemed to require some compo- 
sure, and a collecting of her scattered and reduced energies, 
before she could answer my simple question. I now 
observed more perfectly than I had yet done the character 
and style of the room into which I had been introduced 
its furniture, ornaments, and luxuries ; and, above all, the 
extraordinary, foreign-looking invalid who seemed to be 
the mistress of so much grandeur. Though a bedroom, the 
apartment seemed to have had lavished upon its fitting-up 
as much money as is often expended on a lord's drawing- 
room the bed itself, the wardrobes, pier-glasses, toilets, 
and dressing-cases, being of the most elaborate workman- 
ship and costly character the pictures numerous, and 
magnificently framed ; while on all sides were to be seen 
foreign ornaments, chiefly Chinese and Indian, of brilliant 
appearance, and devoted to purposes and uses of refined 



114 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



luxury, of which I could form no adequate conception. 
On a small table, near the bed, there was a multiplicity of 
boxes, vials, trinkets, and bijouterie of all kinds; and 
fragrant mixtures, intended to perfume the apartment, 
were exposed in various quarters, and even scattered 
exuberantly on spread covers of satin, with a view to their 
yielding their sweets more freely, and filling all the corners 
of the room. In full contrast with all this array of grandeur 
and luxury, lay the strange-looking individual already 
mentioned, on the gorgeous bed. She was apparently an 
East Indian ; and, though possessed of comely features, she 
was even darker than the fair Hindoos we often see in 
this country. The sickness under which she laboured, and 
which appeared to be very severe, had rendered her thin 
and cadaverous-looking making the balls of her brilliant 
eyes assume the appearance of being protruded, and impart- 
ing to all her features a sharp, prominent aspect, the very 
reverse of the natural Indian type ; yet, true to her sex 
and the manners of her country, she was splendidly 
decorated, even in this state of dishabille and distress 
the coverlet being of rich Indian manufacture, and resplend- 
ent with the dyes of the East her gown and cap decorated 
with costly needlework her fingers covered with a pro- 
fusion of rings while a cambric handkerchief, richly 
embroidered, in her right hand, had partly enveloped in 
its folds a large golden vinegarette, set profusely with 
glittering gems. 

The rapid survey which enabled me to gather this 
general estimate of what was presented to me, was nearly 
completed before the invalid had collected strength enough 
to answer my question ; and she was just beginning to 
speak having as yet pronounced only a few inarticulate 
syllables when she was interrupted by the entrance of 
the same young woman who had acted as my conductress, 
and who now exhibited a manner the very opposite of the 
soft, quiet, slipping nature of her former carriage. The 
suddenness, and even impetuosity of her entry, was incon- 
sistent with the character of nurse of a lady in so distressed 
a condition as that of her apparent mistress ; but her sub- 
sequent conduct was much more incomprehensible and ex- 
traordinary ; for, without speaking and without stopping, 
she rushed forward, and, taking me by the arm, hurried 
me away through the door by which I had entered, along 
the lighted passage, down the stair, and never stopped un- 
til she landed me on the threshold of the back-door by 
which I had entered the house. At this time I heard the 
bell of (as I thought) the fore or street door of the house 
ringing violently ; and my conductress, without saying a 
word, ran away as fast as the darkness would permit, 
leaving me, perplexed and confounded at what I had 
seen and heard, to find my way home in the best way I 
could. 

In my professional capacity I had not been accustomed 
to any mysterious or secret practice of our art, which, 
being exercised ostensibly and in reality for the benefit of 
mankind, requires no cloak to cover its operations ; and, 
though I was curious to know the secret of such incompre- 
hensible proceedings, I felt no admiration of, or relish for 
adventures so unsuited to the life and manners of a sober, 
practical man. One thing, however, was clear, and 
seemed sufficient to reconcile my practical, every-day 
notions of life with this mysterious negotiation, and even to 
solve the doubt I entertained, whether I should again 
trust myself as a party to the devices of secrecy and that 
was, that the individual I had been thus called to see pro- 
fessionally was in such a condition of body as required 
urgently the administrations of a medical practitioner. 
On the following day, I resolved upon making some in- 
quiries, with a view to ascertain who and what the indi- 
vidual was that occupied the house to which I had been 
introduced, and which, upon a surve^ ip daylight, I could 



have no difficulty in tracing; but I happened to be too 
much occupied to be able to put my purpose into execution ; 
and was thus obliged to remain, during the day, in a state 
of suspense and ignorance of the secret involved in my pre- 
vious night's professional adventure. In the evening, how- 
ever, and about the same hour at which the messenger 
called for me on the previous occasion, the same individual 
waited on me, with an apology for the apparently uncere~ 
monious treatment I had received, and which, she said, 
would be explained to my satisfaction; and a renewed 
request that I would again accompany her to the same 
house, and on the same errand. I told the messenger 
that I bore no great love to these secret adventures, but 
that I would consent, on this occasion, to make a sacrifice ol 
my principles and feelings, to the hope of being able to be 
of some use,' in a professional way, to the distressed lady I 
had seen on the previous occasion, whose situation, so fai 
as I could judge from appearances, was not far removed 
from the extremity of danger. I again, accordingly, com- 
mitted myself to the guidance of the young woman ; and, 
after a repetition of the windings and evolutions of the 
previous visit, soon found myself again seated in the chair 
that stood by the gorgeous bed of the strange invalid. 
Everything seemed to be in the same situation as before : 
the lamp gave out its weak light, the perfumes exhaled 
their sweets, and the distressed lady exhibited the same 
strange contrast between her reduced sickly condition and 
the superb finery of her dishabille. 

I had not been long seated, when she struggled to inform 
me, in a very weak voice, that she was much beholden to 
me for my attention, and grieved for the unceremonious 
treatment I had received in my last visit. I replied, that I 
laid my account with much greater persona] inconvenience, 
in the pursuit of my profession, than any to which she had 
subjected or could subject me all such considerations being, 
in my apprehension, of small importance, in comparison with 
the good we had often the power of administering to indi- 
viduals in distress ; and begged to know the nature of the 
complaint under which she too evidently laboured, that I 
might endeavour to ameliorate her sufferings, and restore 
her to that health without which the riches she apparently 
was mistress of, could be of small avail in rendering her 
happy. She appeared grateful for the sentiments I ex- 
pressed ; and proceeded to tell me, still with the same 
struggling difficulty of utterance, arising from her extreme 

weakness, that she was the wife of Colonel P , the 

proprietor of the mansion into which I had been thus 
secretly introduced, for reasons she would explain in the 
course of her narrative. She had been married to her 
husband, she proceeded, in the East Indies, of which 
country she was a native ; and, having succeeded to a large 
fortune on the death of her father, had given it all freely, 
without bond, contract, or settlement, to her husband, whom 
she loved, honoured, and worshipped, beyond all earthly 
beings, and with an ardour which had never abated from 
the first moment she had become his wife. Nor was the 
affection limited to one side of the house ; for she was more 
than satisfied that her lord and master grateful, no doubt, 
for the rank, honour, riches, and independence to which 
she had raised him loved her with an affection at least 
equal to her own. But all these advantages (and she 
sighed deeply as she proceeded) were of little consequence 
to the production of happiness, if the greatest of all blessings, 
health, were denied to the possessor ; and that too she had 
enjoyed, uninterruptedly, until about a month previously, 
when she was seized with an illness, the nature of which 
she could not comprehend ; and which, notwithstanding all 
the anxious efforts of her husband, had continued unabated 
to that hour. 

She paused, and seemed much exhausted by the struggle 
she made to let me thus far into her history. The con- 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



115 



eluding part or her statement, combined with the still 
unexplained secrecy of my call, surprised me, and defied 
my powers of penetratiop. This lady had heen dangerously 
ill for a month, during all which time no medical man had 
been called to her aid ; and even now, when her body was 
attenuated, and her strength exhausted to the uttermost, 
professional assistance had been introduced into the house 
by stealth, as if it were against the laws to ameliorate 
human sufferings by curing diseases. This apparent ano- 
maly in human conduct struck me so forcibly that I could 
not refrain from asking the patient, even before she re- 
covered strength enough to answer me, what was her or 
her husband's reason for not calling assistance ; and why 
that assistance was at last requested under the cloud of 
secrecy and apprehension. 

" That I intended to explain to you," she said, after a 
pause. " When I felt myself ill, (and my complaint com- 
menced by excruciating pains iu my stomach, accompanied 
with vomiting,) I told my husband that I feared it would 
be necessary to call a doctor; but, ah, sir ! the very thought 
of the necessity of medical aid to the object of so much 
love and tenderness, put him almost frantic. He confessed 
that it was a weakness ; but declared his inability to con- 
quer it. Yet, alas ! his unremitting kindness has not 
diminished my disease. Though I have taken everything 
his solicitude has suggested and offered to me, my pains 
Still continue, my appetite is entirely gone, and the weak- 
ness of my body has approached that of the helpless infant. 
Three days ago, I thought I would have breathed my last ; 
and parting thoughts of my native country, and the dear 
friends I left there, to follow the fortunes of a dearer stranger, 
passed through my mind with the feeling of a long and 
everlasting farewell. My husband wept over me, and 
prayed for my recovery ; but he could not think me so ill 
as to make the call of the doctor imperative ; and I did not 
press a subject which I saw was painful to him. No, 
sir, I would rather have died than have produced to him 
the slightest uneasiness ; and my object in calling you, in 
the secret manner you have witnessed, was simply to 
avoid causing to him the pain of thinking that my illness 
was so great as to render your services absolutely neces- 
sary." j 

The communication I now heard, which was spoken in 
broken sentences, and after considerable pauses, in place 
of clearing up my difficulty, increased it, and added to my 
surprise. Some light was, no doubt, thrown on the cause 
which produced the secret manner of my visitation ; but 
every other circumstance attending the unfortunate lady's 
case, was merged in deeper gloom and mystery. The cir- 
cumstance of a husband, who loved his wife, refusing to 
call professional assistance, appeared to be not less extra- 
ordinary than the reason assigned for it even with all the 
allowances, justified by a very prevailing prejudice, in some 
weak minds, against the extremity of calling a doctor. I 
had heard something of Colonel P ; that he was consi- 
dered to be immensely rich, and known to be a deep gambler; 
but I never understood that he was a victim of weak or 
imaginary fears, and I was, therefore, inclined to doubt the 
truth of the reason assigned by the unsuspecting invalid, 
for the scrupulous delicacy of her husband's affection and 
solicitude. I pondered for a moment, and soon perceived 
that the nature of her complaint, and the kind of restora- 
tives or medicines she might have been receiving, would, 
in all likelihood, yield me more information on the subject 
of my difficulty, than I could procure from her broken 
sentences, which, at the best, only expressed the sentiments 
of a mind clouded with the prejudice of a devoted love, 
and unbounded credulity I proceeded, therefore, to as- 
certain the nature of her complaint ; and soon discovered 
that the seat of it was, as she had said, in the region of 
the stomach, which not only produced to her great pain 



internally, but felt sore on the application of external 
pressure on the prcecordia. Other .symptoms of a disease 
in this principal organ, were present ; such as fits of pain- 
ful vomiting after attempting to eat, her great emaciation, 
anxiety of countenance, thirst, restlessness, and debility; 
and, in ordinary circumstances, I would have been inclined 
to conclude that she laboured under some species of what 
we denominate gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach, 
though I could not account for such a disease not having 
been resolved and ended in much shorter time than the 
period which embraced her sufferings. 

I next proceeded to ascertain what she had been taking 
in the form of medicaments; and discovered that her 
husband, proceeding on the idea that her stomach laboured 
under weakness, and required some tonic medicine, had 
administered to her, on several occasions, what we term 
limatura ferri, iron filings a remedy for cases of dyspepsia 
and bad stomachs ; but not suited to the inflammatory 
disorders of the kind under which she was suffering. I 
asked her if she had any of the medicine lying by her, 
and she replied, with simplicity, that her husband gene- 
rally took charge of it himself; but that he had that 
evening laid a small paper, containing a portion of it, on 
the top of a side-table, until he administered to her the 
dose she was in the habit of receiving, and had gone away 
without laying it past, according to his custom. I took up 
the paper, examined it, and found, according to the rapid 
investigation I bestowed on it, without the aid of any tests, 
that it possessed all the appearances of the genuine medi- 
cine. I, however, took the precaution of emptying a 
small portion of it into another paper, and slipping it intr 
my pocket, unobserved by the patient. I then told her 
that I thought she should discontinue the use of the pow- 
der, which was entirely unsuited to her ailment. 

" That is a cruel advice, sir," she cried, in a tone of 
great excitement. " How can I discontinue a medicine 
offered to me by the hands of a husband, without being 
able to give any reason for rejecting his kindness? I 
tremble to think of repaying all the attentions of that 
dear man with ingratitude, and wounding his sensibility, 
by rejecting this testimony of his solicitude and affection. 
I cannot I feel I cannot. The pain I would thereby 
produce to him would be reflected, by sympathy, on this 
weak frame, which is unable to struggle much longer with 
the pains of flesh alone, far less with the additional anguish 
of a wounded mind, grieved to death at causing sorrow to 
the man I so dearly love. Do not, oh ! do not, sir, make 
me an ingrate." 

I was struck with the devotion of this gentle being, who 
actually trembled at the idea of producing uneasiness to 
the man whom she had raised to affluence, and who yet 
would not allow her the benefit of a doctor in her distress ; 
but, while I was pleased with this exhibition of a feature 
in the female character I had never before seen so strongly 
developed though I had read and heard much of the 
fidelity and affection of the women of the East I was 
much chagrined at the idea that so fair and beautiful a 
virtue would probably prevent mefrom doing anything effec- 
tual for a creature who, independently of her distance from 
her country, had so many other claims on my sympathy. 
I told her that I feared I could be of little service to her 
if she could not resolve upon discontinuing her husband's 
medicine; and tried to impress upon her the necessity of 
conforming to my advice, if she wished to make herself 
we ll the best mode, assuredly, of making her husband 
happy iut she replied, that she expected I would have 
been aole to give her something to restore her to health, 
independently of what she got from her husband a result 
she wished above all things, as she sighed for the oppor- 
tunity of delighting him, by attributing to his medicines 
and care, her restoration and happiness. I replied, that 



116 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



that was impossible a statement that stung her with dis- 
appointment and pain. 

" Then I will take my beloved's medicines, and die !" 
she cried, with a low, struggling voice resigning herself 
to the power of her weakness. 

This extraordinary resolution of a female devotee put me 
in mind of the immolating custom of her countrywomen, 
called the Suttee. It was a complete ultima ratio, and put 
all my remedial plans at fault in an instant. Her extreme 
weakness, or her devoted resolution, prevented her from 
speaking, and I sat by her bedside, totally at a loss what 
to do whether to persevere in my attempt to get her to 
renounce her husband's medicine, and conform to my pre- 
scriptions, or to leave her to the fate she seemed to court. 
I put several more questions to her, but received no other 
answer than a wave of the hand- a plain token of her wish 
that I should leave her to the tender mercies of her hus- 
band. I had now no alternative ; and, rising, I bowed to 
her, and took my leave. I had some difficulty in finding 
my way out of the house ; but, after several ineffectual 
turns through wrong passages, I reached the door through 
which I had entered, and returned home. 

The extraordinary scene I had witnessed, engaged my 
attention during the evening ; but all my efforts at clear- 
ing up the mystery that enveloped the proceedings of these 
individuals, were met by difficulties which, for a time, 
seemed insuperable. I sat cogitating and recogitating 
various theories and probabilities, and had several times 
examined the iron powder, which, for better observation, I 
had scattered on a sheet of white paper that lay on my 
table. My intention was to test it ; and I waited the in- 
coming of my assistant, to aid me in my experiment. As 
I looked at it at intervals between my trains of thought, 
I was struck with a kind of glittering appearance it ex- 
hibited, and which was more observable when it caught my 
eye obliquely and collaterally, during the partial suspen- 
sion of my perception, by my cogitations. Roused by this 
circumstance, I proceeded instantly to a more minute in- 
vestigation ; and having, by means of a magnet, removed 
all the particles of iron, what was my surprise to find a 
residuum of triturated glass one of the most searching 
and insidious poisons known in toxicology! Good God! 
what were my thoughts and feelings when the first flash 
of this discovery flared upon my mind solving, in an 
instant, by the intensity of its painful light, all my doubts, 
and realizing all my suspicions ! Every circumstance of 
this mysterious affair stood now revealed in clear relief: a 
dark scheme of murder, more revolting in its features than 
any recorded in the malefactor's journal, was illumined 
and exposed by a light which exhibited, not only the 
workings of the design itself, but the reason which led to 
its perpetration. This man had married the confiding and 
devoted foreigner for the sake of her immense wealth, 
which raised him, in an instant, from mediocrity to magni- 
ficence; and, having attained the object of his ambition, 
he had resolved with a view to the concealment of the 
means whereby he effected his purpose, and regardless of 
the sacred obligation of gratitude he owed to her who had 
left her country, her relations, and friends, to trust herself 
to his protection and love to immolate the faithful, kind- 
hearted, and affectionate creature, by a cruel and protracted 
murder. In her own country, the cowardly wretch could 
not have braved the vengeance of her countrymen ; but, 
in a distant land, where few might be expected to 
stand up for the rights of the injured foreigner, he had 
thought he might execute his scheme with secrecy and 
success. But now it was discovered ! By one of those 
extraordinary detached traces of the finger of the Almighty, 
exposed to the convicting power of divine intellect, it was 
discovered ! 

The great excitement produced in my Ciin<3 by this 



miraculous discovery, prevented me, for &iimie time, from 
calmly deliberating on the steps I ought to pursue, with 
the view of saving the poor foreigner from the designs of 
her murderer. The picture of the devoted being, lying, 
like a queen, in the midst of the wealth she had brought 
to her husband, and trembling at the very thought of re- 
jecting his poison, for fear of giving him the slightest pain 
yet on the very point of being sacrificed ; her wealth, 
love, confidence, and gentleness, repaid by death, and 
her body consigned unlamented by friends, who might 
never hear of her fate to foreign dust, rose continually on 
my imagination, and interested my feelings, to a degree 
incompatible with the exercise of a calm judgment. In 
proportion as my emotion subsided, the difficulty of my 
situation appeared to increase. I was, apparently, the 
only person who knew anything of this extraordinary pur- 
pose ; and I saw the imprudence of taking upon myself the 
total responsibility of a report to the public authorities, in 
a case where the chances of conviction would be dimin- 
ished to nothing, by the determination of the victim to 
save her destroyer, whom she never would believe guilty ; 
and by the want of evidence of a direct nature, that the 
powder I had tested was truly destined for her reception ; 
while, in the event of an impeachment and acquittal of 
the culprit, I would be exposed to his vengeance, and his 
poor wife would be for ever subjected to his tyranny and 
oppression. On the other hand, I was at a loss to know 
how I could again get access to the sick victim, whom I 
had left without being requested to repeat my visit ; and 
even if that could be accomplished, I had many doubts 
whether she would pay the slightest attention or regard to 
my statement, that her husband, whom she seemed to 
prefer to her OAvn divine Brama, designed to poison her. 
Yet it was clear that the poor victim behoved to be saved, 
in some way, from the dreadful fate which impended over 
her ; and the necessity of some step being taken with 
rapidity and efficacy, behoved to resolve scruples and 
doubts, which otherwise might have been considered worthj 
of longer time and consideration. 

Next day, I found I had made little progress in coming 
to a resolution what step to pursue ; yet, every hour and 
minute that passed, reproached me with cruelty ; and my 
imagination brought continually before my eyes the poor 
victim, swallowing the stated periodical quota of her death- 
drug. I could have no rest or peace of mind, till some- 
thing was done, at least to the extent of putting her on her 
guard against the schemes of her cruel destroyer; and, 
after all my cogitations, resolutions, and schemes, I found 
myself compelled to rest satisfied with seeing her, laying 
before her the true nature of her danger, and leaving to 
the operation of the instinctive principle of self-preservation 
the working out of her ultimate safety. At the same hour 
of the evening at which my former visit was made, I re- 
paired to the back entrance of the large mansion, and, 
upon rapping at the door, was fortunate enough to be an- 
swered by the young woman who acted formerly as my 
guide. She led me, at my request, instantly to the sick- 
room of her lady, who, having immediately before been 
seized with an attack of vomiting, was lying in a state of 
exhaustion approaching to the inanity of death. I spoke 
to her, and she languidly opened her eyes. I saw no 
prospect of being able to impress upon her comatose mind 
the awful truth I had come to communicate ; yet, I had 
no alternative but to make the attempt ; and I accordingly 
proceeded, with as few words as possible, and in a tone of 
voice suited to the lethargic state of her mind and senses, 
to inform her, that the medicines she was getting from the 
hands of her husband, were fraught with deadly poison, 
which was alone the cause of all her sufferings and agonies, 
and would soon be the means of a painful death. These 
words I spoke slowly and impressively, and watched the 



TALES OF THE BORDERS, 



117 



effect of them with anxiety and solicitude. A convulsive 
shudder passed over her, and shook her violently. She 
opened her eyes, which I saw fill with tears and fixed a 
steady look on my countenance. 

" // is impossible," she said, with a low, guttural tone, 
but with much emphasis ; <( and if it mere possible, I would 
still take his medicine, and die, rather than outlive the 
consciousness of love and fidelity." 

These words she accompanied with a wave of her hand, 
as if she wished me to depart. I could not get her to 
utter another syllable. I had discharged a painful duty ; 
and, casting a look upon her, which I verily believed would 
be the last I would have it in my power to bestow on this per- 
sonification of fidelity and gentleness, I took my departure. 
I felt myself placed in a very painful position for two or 
three days after this interview, arising from a co,nviction 
that I had not done enough for the salvation of this poor 
victim, and yet without being able to fix upon any other 
means of rendering her any assistance, unless I put into 
execution a resolution that floated in my mind, to admonish 
her husband, by an anonymous communication, and threaten 
to divulge the secret of his guilt, unless he instantly de- 
sisted from his nefarious purpose a plan that did not re- 
ceive the entire sanction of my honour, however much it 
enlisted the approbation of my feelings. Some further 
time passed, and added, with its passing minutes, to my 
mental disquietude. One evening, when I was sitting 
meditating painfully on this sombre subject, a lackey, 
superbly dressed, was introduced to me by my servant, and 
stated that he had been commanded by his master, Colonel 

P , to request my attendance at his house without 

delay. I started at the mention of the name, and the 
nature of the message ; and the man stared at me, as I ex- 
hibited the irresolution of doubt and the perturbation of 
surprise, in place of returning him a direct answer. Re- 
covering myself, I replied, that I would attend upon the 
instant ; and, indeed, I felt a greater anxiety to fly to that 
house on which my thoughts were painfully fixed, than I 
ever did to visit the most valued friend I ever attended in 
distress. As I hurried along, I took little time to think of the 

object of my call; but I suspected, either that Colonel P 

had got some notice of my having secretly visited, in my 
professional capacity, his wife, and being therefore privy to 
his design a state of opposing circumstances, which he 
was now to endeavour in some way to counteract or that, 
finding, from the extremity to which his wife was reduced, 
that he was necessitated to call a doctor, as a kind of cloak 
or cover to his cruel act, he had thus made a virtue of 
necessity, when, alas ! it would be too late for my rendering 
the unfortunate creature any service. " He shall not, how- 
ever, escape," muttered I, vehemently, through my teeth, 
as I proceeded. " He little knows that he is now" calling 
to his assistance the man that shall hang him." 

I soon arrived at the house, and rung the front door bell. 
The same powdered lackey who had preceded me, opened 
the door. I was led up two pair of stairs, and found my- 
self in the same lobby with which I had already become 
somewhat familiar. I proceeded forward, thinking I was 
destined for the sick chamber of the lady ; but the servant 
opened a door immediately next to that of her room, and 
ushered me into an apartment furnished in an elegant 
style, but much inferior to that occupied by his wife. 
In a bed lay a man of a genteel, yet sinister cast _ of 
countenance, with a large aquiline nose, and piercing 
black eyes. He appeared very pale and feverish, and 
threw upon me that anxious eye which we often find in 
patients who are under the first access of a serious disease ; 
as if Nature, while she kept her secret from the under- 
standing, communicated it to the feelings, whose eloquence, 
expressed through the senses, we can often read with great 
facility. I knew, in an instant, that he was committed, by 



a relentless hand, to suffering, in all likelihood, in the form 

of a fever. He told me he was Colonel P , and 

that, having been very suddenly taken ill, he had become 
alarmed for himself, and sent for me to administer to him 
my professional services. I looked at him intently ; but 
he construed my stare into the eagerness of professional in- 
vestigation. At that instant, a piercing scream rang 
through the house, and made my ears tingle. I asked him 
who had uttered that scream, which must have come from 
some creature in the very extremity of agony, and made an 
indication as if I would hasten to administer relief to the 
victim. In an instant, I was close and firm in the trem- 
bling clutch of the sick man, who, with a wild and confused 
look, begged me not to sacrifice him to any attention to 
the cause of this disturbance, which was produced by a 
servant in the house, habitually given, through fits of 
hysterics, to the utterance of these screams. I put on an 
appearance of being satisfied with his statement ; but 1 
fixed my eye relentlessly on him, as he still shook, from the 
combined effects of his incipient disease, and his fear of 
my investigating the cause of the scream. I proceeded 
to examine into the nature of his complaint. The symp- 
toms described by him, and detected by my observation, 
satisfied me, that he had been seized with an attack of 
virulent typhus ; and, from the intensity of some of the 
indicationSTr-particularly his languor and small pulse, his 
loss of muscular strength, violent pains in the head, the 
inflammation of his eyes, the strong throbbing of his tem- 
poral arteries, his laborious respiration, parched tongue, 
and hot breath I was convinced he had before him the 
long sands of a rough and rapid race with death. At the 
close of my investigation, he looked anxiously and wistfully 
in my face, and asked me what I conceived to be the nature 
of his complaint. I told him at once, and with greater 
openness and readiness than I usually practise, that I was 
very much afraid he was committed for a severe course of 
virulent typhus. He felt the full force of an announcement 
which, to those who have had any experience of this king 
of fevers, cannot fail to carry terror in every syllable ; and, 
falling back on his pillow, turned up his eyes to heaven. 
At this moment, a succession of screams, or rather yells, 
sounded through the house ; but, as I now saw that I had a 
chance of saving the innocent sufferer. I pretended not to 
regard the dreadful sounds, and purposely averted my eyes, 
to escape the inquiring, nervous look of the sick man. I 
gave him some directions, promised to send some medicines, 
and took my leave. 

As I shut the door, the waiting-maid, whom I had seen 
before, was standing in the door of her mistress's apartment, 
and beckoned me in, with a look of terror and secrecy. I 
was as anxious to visit her gentle mistress as she was to 
call me. On entering, which I did slowly and silently, to 
escape the ear of the husband, I found the unfortunate 
creature in the most intense state of agony. The ground 
glass she nad swallowed, and a great part of which, doubt- 
less, adhered to the stomach, was too clearly the cause of 
her screams ; but, to my surprise, I discovered, from her 
broken ejaculations, that the grief of her husband's illness 
had been able, in its strength, to fight its way to her heart, 
through all her bodily agonies produced by his poison. 
My questions regarding her own condition were answered 
by hysterical sobs, mixed with ejaculations of pity, and 
requests to know how he was, and what was the nature of 
the complaint by which he had been attacked hinting, in 
dubious terms, that she had been the cause of his illness, 
by entailing upon him the necessity of attending her, and 
wounding his sensitive heart by her distress- My former 
communications to her concerning the poison, and my 
caution against her acceptance of it from the hands of her 
intended murderer, had produced no effect upon a mm< 
predetermined to believe nothing against the man BU 



118 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



loved and trusted beyond all moftlals. She had received it 
again from him after my communication ; the effects of it 
were now exhibited in her tortured, burning viscera ; and 
yet, in the very midst of her agonies, her faith, confidence, 
and love stood unshaken; a noble, yet melancholy emblem 
of the most elevated, yet often least valued, and most abused 
virtues of her sex. I endeavoured to answer her fevered 
inquiries about her husband, by telling her that ho stood 
in great need of her attendance ; and that, if she would agree 
to follow iny precepts, and put herself entirely under my 
advice and direction, she might, in a very short time, be 
enabled to perform her duty, of a faithful wife and a kind 
nurse, to her distressed partner. The first perception she 
caught of the meaning of my communication, lighted up 
her eye, even in the midst of her wringing pains ; and, 
starting up, she cried, that she would be the most abject 
slave to my will, and obey me in all things, if I could 
assure her of the blessing of being able to act as nurse and 
comforter to her husband. Now I saw my opportunity. 
On the instant, I called up and dispatched the waiting 
maid to my home, with directions to my assistant, to send 
me instantly an oleaginous mixture, and some powerful 
emetics, which I described in a recipe. I waited the return 
of the messenger, administered the medicines, and watched 
for a time their operation and effects. Notwithstanding 
the continued attacks that had been made on her system, 
by the doses of an active poison, I was satisfied that, if 
my energies were not, in some unforeseen way, thwarted 
and opposed, I would be able to bring this deserving wife 
and pattern of her sex, from the brink of the grave that 
had been dug for her by the hand of a husband. After 
leaving with the waiting-maid some directions, I proceeded 
home, for the purpose of preparing the necessary medicines 
for my other patient. 

I now commenced a series of regular visits to my two 
patients the illness of the husband affording me the most 
ample scope for saving his wife. As he gradually de- 
scendedinto the unavoidable depths of his inexorable disease, 
she, by the elastic force of youth, and a good constitution, 
operating in unison with my medicines, which were ad- 
ministered with the greatest regularity, gradually threw off 
the lurking poison, and advanced to a state of comparative 
safety and strength. I was much pleased to observe the 
salutary effects of my professional interference in behalf of 
vny interesting patient; but. could scarcely credit my own 
perceptions, as I had exhibited to me the most undoubted 
proofs, that the desire to minister to the wants and comforts 
of her sick husband, engrossed so completely every other 
feeling that might have been supposed consequent upon 
a restoration to health, that she seemed to disregard all 
other considerations. Her questions about the period 
when she might be able to attend him, were unremitting ; 
and every hour she was essaying to walk, though her efforts 
often ended in weak falls, or sinkings on the ground, when 
some one was required to assist her in getting up, and 
returning to bed. She entreated me to allow her to be 
carried to his bedside ; where, she said, they might mix 
their tears, and console each other ; and all my arguments 
against the impropriety of such an obvious mode of in- 
creasing her husband's illness, and augmenting those 
sufferings she was so solicitous to ameliorate, were scarcely 
sufficient to prevent her from putting her design into 
execution. 

The husband's disease, which often runs a course of two 
months, though the crisis occurs generally between the 
third and fourth week, progressed steadily and relentlessly, 
mocking, as the fevers of that type generally do, all the 
boasted art of our profession. His pulse rose to the alarm- 
Ing height of 120; he exhibited the oppression at the 
chest, increased thirst, black-furred tongue, tind inarticu- 
late; muttering speech, which are considered to be unfavour- 



able indications ; and there was, besides, a clear tendency 
to delirium a common, yet critical symptom leaving, 
even after the patient has recovered, and often for years, its 
marks in the weakened intellect. One evening I was 
standing by his bedside, studying his symptoms; witnessing 
the excess of his sufferings, and listening to the bursts of 
incoherent speech, which, from time to time, came from 
him, as if expelled from his sick spirit by some internal 
power. He spoke often of his wife, whom he called by 
the name of Espras ; and, in the midst of his broken ejacu- 
lations, gushes of intense feeling came on him, filling his 
yellow sunken eyes with rhewmy tears, and producing 
heavy sobs, which, repressed by his loaded chest, assumed 
sounds unlike anything I ever heard, and beyond my 
power of description. I could not well understand these 
indications of the working of his spirit ; but I fancied 
that, when he felt his own agonies, became conscious of what 
it is to suffer a certain extremity of pain, and learned, foi 
the first time of his life, the sad experience of an inexor- 
able disease, which presented to him the prospect of a 
lingering death, his mind recurred to the situation of his 
wife, who, as he thought, was, or might be, enduring tortures, 
produced by his hand, transcending even his sufferings. 
There seemed to be less of conscience in his mental oper- 
ations, than a new-born sorrow or sympathy, wrung out of 
a heart naturally obdurate, by the anguish of a personal 
experience of the pain he himself had produced in another, 
who had the strongest claims on his protection and love. 
His mind, though volatile and wandering, and not far 
from verging on delirium, was not yet deranged ; and I 
was about to put a question to him concerning his wife, 
whom he had not directly mentioned to me, when the door 
opened, and the still pale and emaciated figure of Mrs 
P , dressed in a white morning gown, entered the apart- 
ment, struggling with her weakness to get forward, and 
clutching, in her breathless efforts, at whatever presented 
itself to her nerveless arms, to support her, and aid her in 
her progress to the sick-bed of her husband. The bed 
being in the middle of a large room, she was necessitated 
to trust partly to the weak powers of her limbs, which 
having failed her, she, in an attempt to spring forward, and 
reach the bed before sinking, came short of her aim, and 
fell with a crash on the floor, uttering, as she stumbled, a 
scream of sorrow, wrung from her by the sight of her hus- 
band lying extended on a bed of sickness. The noise 
started the invalid, who turned his eyes wildly in the 
direction of the disturbance ; and I rushed forwards, to raise 
in my arms the exhausted victim. I had scarcely got her 
placed on her feet, when she again struggled to reach the 
bed ; and having, by my assistance, got far enough forward, 
she threw herself on the body of the fever-ridden patient, 
ejaculating, as she seized him in her arms., and bedewed his 
pale face with tears 

" Frederick ! my honoured husband, whom I am bound 
to cherish and nurse as becomes the fondest of wives, why 
is it that I have been deprived of this luxury of the grief- 
stricken heart to watch your looks, and anticipate your 
wants ? Thanks to the blessed powers of your faith and 
of mine, I have you now in my arms, and no mortal shall 
come between me and my love ! Night and day I will 
watch and tend you, till the assiduities of my affection 
weary out the effects of your cruel disease, brought on you 
O God ! by your grief for me, your worthless Espras." 

And she buried her head in the bosom of the sick man 
and sobbed intensely This scene, from the antithesis of 
its circumstances, appeared to me the most striking I had 
ever beheld ; and, though it was my duty to prevent so 
powerful a cause of disturbance to the patient, I felt I had 
no power to stop this burst of true affection. I watched 
narrowly the eye of the patient ; but it was too much 
clouded by the effects of the fever, and too nervous and 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



119 



fugacious, to enable me to distinguish between the powers 
of disease, and the working of the natural affections. But 
that his mind and feelings were working, and were respond- 
ing to this powerful moral impulse, was proved fearfully, 
by his rapid, indistinct muttering and jabbering, mixed 
with deep sighs, and the peculiar sound of the repressed 
sobs which I hare already mentioned, but cannot assimilate 
to any sound I ever heard. All my efforts to remove the 
devoted wife, by entreaty, were vain : she still clung to him, 
as if he had been on the eve of being taken from her by 
death. Her sobbing continued unabated, and her tears 
fell on his cheek. These intense expressions of love and 
sorrow awoke the sympathy which I thought had previously 
been partially excited ; for I now observed that he turned 
away his head, while a stream of tears flowed down his 
face. It was now, I found, necessary, for the sake of the 
patient, to remove the excited lady ; and I was obliged to 
apply a gentle force, before I could accomplish my purpose. 
She insisted, however, upon remaining in the room, and 
beseeched me so piteously for this privilege, that I con- 
sented to a couch being made up for her at a little distance 
from the bed of her husband, whom it was her determina- 
tion to tend and nurse, to the exclusion of all others. I was 
not, indeed, ill-pleased at this resolution ; for I anticipated, 
from her unexampled love and devotedness, an effect on the 
heart of her husband, which might cure its vices, and rege- 
nerate its affections. 

On the next occasion of my stated visit, I found my 
patient had at last fallen into a state of absolute delirium. 
On a soft arm-chair, situated by his bedside, sat his wife, 
the picture of despair, wringing her hands, and indulging 
in the most extravagant demonstrations of grief and affec- 
tion. The wretched man exhibited the ordinary symptoms 
of that unnatural excitement of the brain under which he 
laboured relapsing at times into silence, then uttering a 
multiplicity of confused words jabbering wildly looking 
about him with that extraordinary expression of the eye, 
as if every individual present was viewed as a murderer 
then starting up, and, with an overstrained and choking 
voice, vociferating his frenzied thoughts, and then again 
relapsing into silence. It is but little we can do for patients 
in this extreme condition ; but the faith his wife reposed 
in professional powers that had already saved her, sug- 
gested supplications and entreaties, which I told her she 
had better direct to a higher Dispensator of hope and relief. 
The tumultuous thoughts of the raving victim were still, 
at intervals, rolling fbrth ; and, all of a sudden, I was 
startled by a great increase of the intensity and connected- 
ness of his speech. He had struck the chord that sounded 
most fearfully in his own ears. His attempt to murder the 
creature who now sat and heard his wild confession, was 
described by himself in intelligible, though broken, sen- 
tences :- 

" The fortune brought me by Espras," he vociferated, " is 
loaded by the burden of herself that glass is not well 
ground you are not so ill, my dear Espras, as to require 
a doctor I cannot bear the thought of you labouring under 
that necessity who can cure you so well as your devoted 
husband? Take this fear not why should love have 
suspicions? When she is gone, I shall have a wife of 
whom I may not be ashamed yet, is she not a stranger in 
a foreign land ? Has she not left her country, her rela- 
tions, her friends, her gods, for me, whom she has raised 
to opulence ? Cease, cease I cannot stand these thoughts 
there is a strife in this heart, between the powers of hell 
and heaven when will it terminate, and who shall rule 
my destiny ?" 

These words, which he accompanied with wild ges- 
tures, were followed by his usual indistinct muttering 
and jabbering. I directed my gaze upon his wife. She 
sat in the chair, motionless, -with her eyes fixed on the 



ground, as if she had been struck with death in that posi- 
tion, and been stiffened into a rigidity which retained her 
in her place. The issues of her tenderness and affection 
seemed to have been sent back upon the heart, whose 
pulses they stopped. The killing pain of an ingratitude, 
ingeniously heightened to the highest grade of that hell- 
king of all human crimes, operating upon a mind rendered 
so sensitively susceptible of its influences, paralysed the 
whole moral constitution of the devoted creature, and 
realized the poetical creation of despair. I felt inclined to 
soften the sternness of her grief, by quickening her disbe- 
lief of the raving thoughts of a fever-maniac ; but I paused 
as I thought of the probable necessity of her suspicion for 
her future safety from the schemes of a murderer, whose 
evil desires might be resuscitated by the return of health. 
I could do nothing more at that time for the dreadful con- 
dition of the wretched husband, and less for the more 
dreadful state of the miserable wife ; and the persona! 
pain I experienced in witnessing this high-wrought scene 
of terror, forced me to depart, leaving the one still raving 
in his madness, and the other bound in the stern grasp of 
the most awful of all moral visitations. 

I expected that, on my next visit, I would rind such a 
change on my patient as would enable me to decide whether 
he would live or die ; but he was still delirious, with the 
crowded thoughts of the events of his past life careering 
through his fevered brain, as if their restlessness and agita- 
tion were produced by the burning fires that chased them 
from their legitimate territory of the mind. There was, 
however, a change in one quarter. His wife's confidence 
and affection had withstood and triumphed over the attack 
of the previous day, and she was again occupied in hang- 
ing over her raving husband, shedding on his unconscious 
face the tear of pity, and supplying, by anticipation, every 
want that could be supposed incident to his miserable con- 
dition. This new and additional proof of the strength of 
this woman's steadfastness, in her unparalleled fidelity and 
love, struck me even more forcibly than the. previous indi- 
cations she had given of _ this extraordinary feature in her 
character; but I was uncertain yet whether to construe 
her conduct as salutary or dangerous to her own personal 
interests a circumstance depending on the further devel- 
opement of the sentiments of her husband. On that same 
evening, the change suspected took place : the delirium 
abated, and consciousness, that had been driven forcibly 
from her throne, hastened to assume the sceptre of her 
authority. The crisis was past, and the patient began to 
be sensible of those attentions, on the part of his devoted 
wife, which had not only the merit of being unremitting, 
but that of being sweetened by the tears of solicitude, and 
the blandness of love. I marked attentively the first im- 
pressions made by her devotedness on the returning sense. 
I saw his look following her eye, which was continually 
inflamed, and bedewed by the effects of her grief; and, 
after he had, for a period of time, fixed his half-conscious, 
half-wondering gaze on her, he turned it suddenly away, 
but not before he gave sufficient indications of sympathy 
and sorrow, in a gush of tears. These manifestations were 
afterwards often repeated; but I thought I sometimes 
could perceive an abruptness in his manner, and a painful 
impatience of the minute, refined, and ingenious attentions 
of a highly-impassioned affection, which left me in doubt 
whether, after his disease was removed, sufficient reliance 
could be placed on the stability of his regeneration. 

In my subsequent visits I kept up my study of the oper- 
ations of his mind, as well as the changes of his disease. His 
wife's attentions seemed rather to increase with the improve- 
ment of his health, and her increased ability to discharge the 
duties of affection. He had improved so far as to be in a 
condition to receive tonics for the recovery of the tone of 
his stomach. I seized the opportunity of his wife leaving, 



120 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



for a short time, his sick-room, and, as I seated myself on her 
chair by the bedside, I took from my pocket the powder 
of iron filings and triturated glass he' had prepared for the 
poisoning of her who had latterly been contributing all the 
energies of love to the saving of his life. 

" A chalybeate mixture/' said I, while I fixed my eyes on 
his countenance, " has been recommended for patients in 
your condition, for improving the power of the stomach, 
weakened by the continued nausea of a protracted fever. 
Here is a powder composed of iron filings, a good chaly- 
beate, which I found lying in your wife's apartment. I have 
none better in my laboratory, and would recommend to you 
a full dose of it before I depart." 

The electric effect of this statement was instantaneous 
,id remarkable. He seemed like one who had felt the 
sharp sting of a musket bullet sent into his body by a hand 
unseen uncertain of the nature of the wound, or of the 
aim by which it is produced. A sudden suspicion relieved 
his still fevered eye, which threw upon me the full blaze of 
staring wonder and terror ; while an accompanying uncer- 
tainty of my intention sealed his mouth, and added curio- i 
sity to his look. But I followed up my aim resolutely and 
determinedly. 

" Here is, on the table," continued I, " a'mucilaginous 
vehicle for its conveyance into the stomach. I shall pre- 
pare it instantly. To seize quickly the handle of an au- 
spicious occasion, is the soul of our art." (Approaching the 
bed with the medicine in my hand.) 

" I cannot, I cannot take that medicine," he cried, 
wildly. " What means this ? Help me, Heaven, in this 
emergency ! I cannot, I dare not take that medicine." 

" Why ?" said I, still eyeing him intently. " Is it be- 
cause there is ground glass in it ? That cannot be ; be- 
cause I understand it was intended for Espras, your loving, 
faithful wife; and who would administer so dreadful a 
poison to a creature so gentle and interesting? She is,' 
besides, a foreigner in our land ; and who would treat the 
poor, unprotected stranger with the dainty that has con- 
cealed in it a lurking death ? Is this the hospitality of 
Britain ?" j 

Every word was a thunderstroke to his heart. All un- 
certainty fled before these flaming sarcasms, which carried, 
on the bolt of truth, the keenness of his own poison. His 
pain became intense, and exhibited the peculiarity of a 
mixture of extreme terror, directed towards me as one that 
had the power of hanging him, and of intense sorrow for 
the injury he had produced to the wife of his bosom, 
whose emaciated figure, hanging over him in his distress, 
must have been deeply imprinted on his soul. Yet it was 
plain that his sorrow overcame his fear; for I saw his 
bosom heaving with an accumulation t>f hysterical emotions, 
which convulsed his frame in the intense manner of the 
aerial ball that chokes the female victim of excited nerves. 
The struggle lasted for several minutes, and at last a burst 
of dissolving tenderness, removing all the obstructions of 
prudence or terror, and stunning my ear with its loud sound, 
afforded him a temporary relief. Tears gushed down his 
cheeks, and groans of sorrow filled the room, and might 
have been heard in the apartment of his wife, whose entry, 
I feared, might have interrupted the extraordinary scene. 
Looking at me wistfully, he held out his hands, and sobbed 
out, in a tone of despair 

" Are you my friend, or are you my enemy ?" ; 

I answered him that I was the friend of his wife one 
of the brightest patterns of female fidelity I had ever seen ; 
and if, by declaring myself his friend, I would save her 
from the designs of the poisoner, and him from the pains 
of the law and the fire of hell, I would instantly sign the 
\bond of amity. 

" You have knocked from my soul the bonds of terror," 
he cried out, still sobbing ; and if I knew and were satis- 



fied of one thing more, I would resign myself to God and 
my own breaking heart. Did Espras yet why should I 
suspect one who rejects suspicion as others do the poison 
she would swallow from my hand, though labelled by 
the apothecary ? did Espras tell you what you have so 
darkly and fearfully hinted to me ?" 

I replied to him that, in place of telling me, the faithful, 
unsuspecting creature had, to that hour, rejected and spurned 
the suspicion, as unworthy of her pure, confiding spirit. 

" It is over ! it is over !" cried the changed man. " O 
God ! How powerful is virtue ! How strong is the force 
of those qualities of the heart which we men often treat as 
weak baubles, to toy with, and throw away in our fits of 
proud spleen the softness, the gentleness, the fidelity 
and devotedness of woman ! How strangely, how won- 
derfully formed is the heart of man, which, disdaining the 
terrors of the rope of the executioner, breaks and succumbs 
at the touch of the thistle-down of a woman's love ! This 
creature, sir, gave me my fortune, made me what I am, left 
for me her country and her friends, adhered to me through 
good and evil report and I prepared for her a cruel death ! 
Dreadful contrast ! Who shall describe the shame, the 
sorrow, the humiliation of the ingrate whose crime has 
risen to the fearful altitude of this enormity ; and who, by 
the tenderness and love of his devoted victim, is forced to 
turn his eye on the grim reward of death for love, riches, 
and life ? Gentle, beloved, injured Espras ! that emaciated 
form, these trembling limbs, these sunken eyes, and these 
weak and whispering sounds of pity and affection have 
touched my heart with a power that never was vouchsafed 
to the tongue of eloquence. Transcending the rod oi 
Moses, they have brought from the rock streams of blood ; 
and every pulse is filled with tenderness and pity. "Wretched 
fool ! I was ashamed of your nativity, and of the colour 
you inherited from nature, and never estimated the qualities 
of your heart ; but when shall the red-and- white beauty 
of England transcend my Espras in her fidelity and love, 
as she does in the skin-deep tints of a beguiling, treacherous 
face ? God ! what a change has come over this heart ! 
Thanks, and prayers, and tears of blood, never will express 
the gratitude it owes to the great Author of our being for 
this miraculous return to virtue, effected by the simple 
means of a woman's confidence and love." 
i As he finished this impassioned speech, which I have 
repeated as correctly as my memory enabled me to commit 
to my note-book, he turned his eyes upwards, and remained 
for at least five minutes in silent prayer. As he was about 
finishing, his wife entered. Her appearance called forth 
from his excited mind a burst of affection, and, seizing her 
in his arms, he wept over her like a child. He was met 
as fervently by the gentle and affectionate creature, who, 
grateful to heaven for this renewed expression of her 
husband's love, turned up her eyes to heaven, and wept 
aloud. I never witnessed a scene like this. I left them 
to their enjoyment, and returned home. 

I was subsequently a constant visiter at the hoxise of 
Colonel P ; and, about eighteen months after his reco- 
very, I officiated as accoucheur to his wife on the occasion 
of the birth of a son. Other children followed afterwards , 
and bound closer the bonds of that conjugal love which I 
had some hands in producing, and which I saw increase 
daily through a long course of years. 




TALES 



WILSON'S 

cal, Sfralrttfouarg, anH $ma&tnatft* 

F THE BORDERS, 



AND OF SCOTLAND. 



THE YOUNG ARTIST. 

SOME years ago, a large packet of letters was placed in my 
hands, by a young artist, who was about to visit Italy, in 
order that he might further himself in his profession. I 
was his nearest and dearest friend ; the packet contained 
many valuable, and, to him, interesting memorials of 
affection, which he was not willing to destroy, yet could 
not conveniently carry along with him ; and I received 
them, under the promise to peruse them only should I 
hear of his death. He was young and enthusiastic in his 
profession, and he left Scotland under the most favourable 
auspices a wealthy merchant, eminent for his liberality 
and patronage towards art, having most generously taken 
the poor student under his protection. My young friend 
was the son of an industrious mechanic, who had given 
him a good education, and had, with all a parent's fond- 
ness, encouraged him, from his boyhood, to direct his 
talents, which early developed themselves, to become a 
painter. He was indulged in his favourite pursuits to the 
utmost of his father's means, and had made considerable 
progress as a landscape painter, before proceeding to roam 
beneath an Italian sky. : 

I have said that I was the artist's dearest friend. There 
was one individual still dearer to him than me a young 
lady, with whom he had been in love for about three years 
previous to his departure. From my own knowledge, I was 
aware that his passion was sincerely returned ; for never 
was a being more devoted to another, than Mary William- 
son to her ardent lover. Her parents, however, although 
they admired my friend's talents, and, in common with all 
who knew him, respected his amiable and upright charac- 
ter, were understood to be averse to their daughter's mar- 
riage with a poor man. They were themselves in highly 
comfortable circumstances, and it was but natural that 
they should wish their child to be equally so. in the im- 
portant matter of settling down in life. His visits to the 
family, therefore, were rather tolerated than openly 
encouraged ; still, his fascinating manners and conversa- 
tion were such, and so conscious were they of the state 
of their child's affections, that they, to themselves, acknow- 
ledged that poverty in him was the only barrier to what 
they would otherwise have looked on as a happy union. 
It was under this understood impression that the young 
artist set out upon his journey; animated with double 
hopes the hope of rising to fame and eminence in his 
profession, and that of securing an income that would 
enable him to support his beloved one in a station equal 
to that in which she had been educated. 

I wish I could paint the beauties of mind and manner 
half so well as my friend could delineate the beauties of 
landscape ; for then would I attempt to shew a specimen 
of a lovely woman in Mary Williamson, which would inte- 
rest every reader in her fortunes. In the ordinary affairs 
of life, she was an unostentatious but careful manager ; 
and her " soft, low voice an excellent thing in woman" 
was that sort of music which it is so delightful to hear 
reigning over the household details of a rich, as well as a 
poor man's dwelling. I cannot believe that my friend knew 
172. VOL, IV ' 



half her excellences ; for, in his presence, she was subdued 
as it were, " to the very quality of her lord." He was a 
man of strong mind, great penetration, and decisive judg- 
ment. He was apt to form a decision on the instant ; and 
Mary would sit and listen to the outpourings of his mascu- 
line character, as if it would have been like falsehood to 
hint a contradiction or something like a sin to utter her 
poor opinion on anything that he had, as she deemed, 
thoroughly discussed. In a moment of confiding affection, 
she has acknowledged that she could speak with perfect 
freedom before anybody but her father and her lover. And 
such was the fact ; for her assents were all smiles to them, 
while, with others, she could give her " yea" and " nay" 
with becoming latitude. But it was the perfect simplicity, 
the winning kindness of her manner the sincere, unob- 
trusive charity and the love of virtue and goodness, for 
their own sake, which she possessed that acted like fascin 
ation on others, and made her be looked on almost as a 
little saint by her relations. I have seen her, in a group of 
laughing children, the happiest of the happy of the little 
band. I have seen her, at a lively evening party, the live- 
liest there. In the merry dance on the green, or in the 
lighted hall, her spirits were ever the most buoyant, " steal- 
ing and giving odour." But my friend saw none of this ; 
for, although he was the one object in the world dearer to 
her than life, his presence would at once have converted 
her from mirth to seriousness seriousness no less becom- 
ing than her mirth, and, I should think, infinitely more 
flattering to her lover, although, on her part, unwitting. 
Often has she, in her innocent love thinking that what 
gave her pleasure, must have been gratifying for him to 
know wrung his heart with anguish, by descriptions of 
some pleasant little party, where she was so happy. He 
was not there he was poor ! 

The lovers parted, as thousands have done before, with 
tremblings, and tears, and lingering embraces and faint 
hopes, and strong- and sudden fears, and confiding acknow- 
ledgments of unalterable love. The delicate charge of 
transmitting letters through the post, from the one to the 
other, was left to me. It was a task which I would rather 
have avoided ; but it was forced on me, and I was strong 
in my friend's integrity. Several letters arrived, sent by 
him during his first month's absence. They were addressea 
to her, for my care ; and I, of course, delivered them safely. 
It was no secret to her parents that Mary was keeping up 
a correspondence with the artist; for, indeed, she was 
incapable of holding such a thing a secret for a single hour. 
Nor were they displeased at it, no visiter being so welcome 
as myself; for that which gave their only daughter plea- 
sure, could not be indifferent to them. But how can Mary's 
reception of me on such occasions be described? She 
knew my step in the lobby, and would run to meet me the 
moment she heard it. Then, what a mantling of smiles 
was on her glowing face, and how her eyes beamed so lus- 
trously, as she watched my slightest motion, till I pulled 
forth the expected letter ! And how she would dart away 
from me, like a young fawn, to her own little room, leaving 
me to stumble into any other room I pleased ! But seldom 
had I to wait long until she was again with me. What ! 
not an apology for leaving me so abruptly ? No. I knew 



122 



how she loved him and how could she think of idle cere- 
mony at such a moment ? Had I taxed her with abrupt- 
ness, she might have blushed, and I should have been 
ashamed. 

The last letter which I thus delivered reached me about 
three months after my friend's departure. I had occasionally 
received a letter from him for myself; and 1 was sorry to 
see, from the general tone of his correspondence, that he was . 
not only in bad health, but that he was oppressed with 
fears as to his future success. As, from all I could gather 
from Mary's conversation, he seemed to breathe nothing of 
this in her letters, I did not feel myself called on to allude 
to his supposed situation or condition in her presence ; but 
I called upon his father, and informed him, regularly and 
faithfully, of the contents of my letters. The old man's 
concern for his son was not lessened by my statement of 
my fears ; and it was with tears in his eyes, he told me, that a 
warm climate had already been fatal to one of his family, 
his oldest son, who had died, in the East Indies, of the 
fever peculiar to the country. 

On visiting Mary's abode, with the last communication, 
to which I have just alluded, she was alone in the house. 
It was on the occasion of some public rejoicing, and the 
rest of the family had gone forth to enjoy the sight of a 
military review. I presume she had been looking over 
some old letters from her lover ; for she hurried several, on 
my appearance in the room, into a little cabinet that stood 
beside her. I never saw her look so pleased or so happy. 
She had dressed herself for the review ; but, on some sud- 
den recollection, she had stayed at home. She confidently 
told me, that she knew I would call that very day with a 
letter, and that she could enjoy nothing out of doors, when 
a packet of good news might be lying for her at home. 

" Well," said I, " I hope this does bring you good news," 
handing her the letter. 

" I am sure it does," she replied ; " and so I shall not 
be in such a violent hurry to read it, as to forget my good 
manners. Pray, be seated, and pardon my absence for a 
few moments. You are a very great favourite of mine, and 
I'll allow you to take a peep into his sketch-book ; only you 
must not read anything you may see there." So saying, 
she left me. 

I will not disguise the fact I Avas afraid of her return. 
I suspected that my friend had buoyed her up with pictures 
of what he deemed he could once be, rather than of what 
he was ; and that he had studiously avoided hinting at his 
delicate state of health. Now, I feared the worse. I trem- 
bled lest he should have lost all hope, and, in the language 
which was natural to him under disappointment, expressed 
himself with a sincerity which might be fatal to the peace 
of his mistress. She had not been absent many minutes, 
when she returned, and, with an agitated air, handed me 
back the letter, requesting me to read it aloud, adding, 
that it contained no secrets at least, none that I should 
not be acquainted with. I complied with her request, to the 
best of my ability ; but I could scarcely get through with- 
out tears". She threw herself on a sofa, and turned her 
face from me while I read. It was a letter to make a 
stranger weep. It talked of sickness, and suffering, and 
broken hopes. How fondly had the young artist set out to 
visit the land of his dreams to drink deep at the fountains 
of art ! There he had confidently anticipated that his spirit 
would be inflamed to rivalry, by gazing at the glories of 
the antique world. Alas ! he had wept himself almost 
blind, in looking at the splendid triumphs of genius that 
were strewed like flowers in his way that man could never 
imitate. He saw, he trembled, he shrunk abashed he 
could paint no more. The pencil dropped from his hand 
he dared not think himself an artist ; and he had come 
thus far, to be so taught the sense of his own insignificance ! 
"Was it the ever-sunny clime that made him sicken, and 



haunt the temples of Fame with fever at his heart ? or wag 
it not rather the despair of intolerable disappointment that 
filled his bosom, and dispelled for ever his brightest dreams? 
He stated that he was now lying on a sick-bed he hoped 
his death-bed and that he would never work more. He 
implored his mistress to forget him at least, to forgive 
him for having, in the heat of youth, engaged her affections 
engaged them to worse than a beggar. 

" He will die, he will die ! and must I not be near 
him ! Oh, can I not go to him ? Yes, yes. He must not 
die ; and I will cheer him. He will not die when I am 
beside him !" 

Such were the exclamations of poor Mary, as she arose 
and threw on her bonnet, and was making for the door. 

" "Where will you go, Mary ?" said I. " Do not leave 
the house in this state." 

"Where should I go," she replied, through her tears, 
" but to Him ? He is my William ; and he is ill, and I 
here ! Oh, come with me ; let us go to him !" 

And most cheerfully would that devoted being have set 
forth on a pilgrimage to the bedside of her dying lover. 
Her heart was bound up in him ; and I can conceive of no 
greater state of suffering than for such a woman to survive 
the object of her affections. The gentleman who had sup- 
plied my friend with the means of prosecuting his studies 
in Italy, was applied to ; and he immediately wrote off a 
letter, full of kind assurances and encouragement, to his 
protege, recommending him to take care of his health; 
promising that, if he would come home, he should provide 
for him in some other way. He also despatched a letter 
to a commercial correspondent, recommending the most 
assiduous attention to the welfare and comfort of his young 
friend. In the course of a few months, I had again the 
pleasure of folding my old companion to my heart. He 
was sadly altered in appearance a perfect wreck. 

Poor Mary was little better than her lover. She had 
suffered much since the receipt of his last letter. Her 
blooming complexion was gone, and a few months of illness 
had given her the appearance of as many years. When 
she heard of his arrival, she hurried to his father's to see 
him ; and never did that amiable girl look so like her real 
character, as when speaking kind words to the Hopeless, 
und the humble roof of the old mechanic. 

The artist got better ; but he was an artist no more. " I 
shall begin the world again," he said, " and try some more 
humble calling. I will be assiduous and industrious ; and, 
should fortune prove propitious, I may, perhaps, win Mary, 
to leave her father's lofty mansion for an abode in a more 
humble dwelling." He did set to work in earnest. His 
former patron did not desert him, but put him in a situation 
under himself, where he speedily established himself, by his 
attention to business, punctuality, and other good beha- 
viour. 

One day, I was so impertinent as break open the seal of 
the package of letters that had been left in my keeping by 
the quondam artist. The loose ones were all of my own 
writing ; but there were some tied up and sealed apart. 
On the wrapper was written " To be delivered to Miss 
Williamson only on receipt of my death." This little 
parcel I had the pleasure of giving to Mary on her wedding- 
day ; and, when she read the superscription, she pinched 
the bridegroom's ear, and said he deserved to die for fearing 
that he could die before marriage. 



THE SACRIFICE. 

MANY are the sacrifices that are daily made in the world, 
by the opposite sex, in the important affair of marriage- 
sacrifices involving considerations of the most interesting 
kind, as regards the peculiar position of womankind. It 



TALES 0* THE BORDERS. 



123 



is impossible to allude to these without a feeling of regret 
that circumstances should occur in the history of many 
families to render such sacrifices almost inevitable; for 
their results are generally untoward. 

There are certain considerations by which the various 
classes of society are affected, in the raising up of families,, 
which, when they come in collision with affections pre- 
engaged or misplaced, cannot fail to operate painfully on 
individuals. Rank and fortune have their victims as well 
as poverty and dependence. Much of the romance of life 
is to be found in the stern world of reality. 

In the present paper we will endeavour to record the 
history, so far, of two human beings, in which a sacrifice 
of the most generous character appears, with its results 
a sacrifice which is not uncommon ; but which, we trust, 
is seldom called for to the extent which it assumes in the 
case before us. 

Mr Wilson was, at one time, a thriving merchant in an 
extensive manufacturing town in England. He was a 
man of middle age, of a cheerful disposition ; and he was 
the pride of a little circle of friends, of cultivated tastes 
and liberal acquirements. Among the pleasures which he 
enjoyed, and had a passion in the pursuit of, was the truly 
innocent and fascinating one of a love for the fine arts. 
He drew beautifully, and painted well ; and his patronage 
of those who followed painting as a profession, was liberal 
as it was well-judged. Of many who felt the effects of 
his generosity, was a poor, widowed lady, who taught 
drawing in his neighbourhood. This lady had one child 
a little girl of about twelve years of age, whose father 
had died while she was but an infant. Accustomed to 
mingle in scenes of fashionable life, the mother, on a 
reverse of fortune, which overtook her at the death of her 
husband, retired, with her child, to the busy town of 
which Mr Wilson was a denizen, and there devoted her 
talents as a teacher of drawing in which art she was no 
mean proficient to the honourable purpose of supporting 
herself and little girl. Mr Wilson, to whom she had been 
introduced, was of much service to this amiable woman, in 
recommending pupils to her care, and in furnishing her 
with many comforts and conveniences at her outset in her 
new line of life. He also became a father to her child; 
and, in her twelfth year, he resolved to educate and adopt 
her as his heir. Jane Fitzwilliam for that was the 
favoured girl's name was a most affectionate creature, 
and dearly did she repay the kindness, in her latter years, 
which was lavished on her youth. Since ever she could 
distinguish betwixt one individual and another, she had 
been accustomed to recognise Mr Wilson as her father ; 
and when she lost the society of her mother, who was 
carried away from her by death, about two years after the 
period of her adoption, she was received into his family, 
and placed at the head of his establishment. 

Jane had a lover, unknown to her protector, in a young 
man, an assistant in one of the schools where she had 
received part of her education. He was poor, and she was 
the presumed heir to considerable wealth ; but this did not 
hinder her from giving up her affections into the scholar's 
keeping. The two, it might be said, were formed for each 
other. He was of a bold, resolute character, and a person 
of considerable natural ability. Not decidedly handsome, 
he could, when he chose to exert himself, be perfectly fasci- 
nating in the presence of the fair sex a power which is 
often bestowed on those who have been denied mere 
beauty of face or form, as if in indemnity for nature's 
niggardliness otherwise. Jane, on the other hand, 
was a retiring little creature, simple, modest, unpretending, 
and secretly proud of the talents of her lover. Hers was 
not a mind of that strong and decided cast out of which one 
could make a heroine for a novel. She was rather a being 
formed for dependence on one her superior in bodily and 



mental capacity. From this it is not meant to be inferred 
that she was incapable of entertaining a sincere and 
lasting affection; on the contrary, such a character is in 
geneial the opposite, when put to the test. 

Things ran on in an even current of happiness and pro- 
sperity with Mr Wilson and his adopted daughter. She 
was now a woman of nineteen, and had received several 
offers of marriage, which she invariably refused ; affirming 
that she would never leave the house of her benefactor 
until he was tired of her company a thing not very likely 
ever to take place. He set down her refusals to enter the 
married state, to a very different reason from the right one; 
which was her love for the poor tutor, who was still unable 
to support a wife, but who ardently looked forward to the 
time, when fortune would prove more propitious, and 
enable him to open an academy on his own account. Mr 
Wilson, knowing nothing of this, began to suspect that his 
ward's affections were fixed upon himself; and, although 
the disparity in their ages might have opened his eyes to 
a different conviction, still, as nothing transpired to whisper 
to him the true state of the matter, he indulged in the 
delightful dream, until it became to him an all-engrossing 
attachment. 

There is nothing so fluctuating as prospects of human 
happiness. A single day will often bring about the most 
distressing results to families, in the commercial world. 
So did it with the amiable gentleman whom we have 
introduced under the name of Mr Wilson. One day made 
him a poor man poorer even than when he first began 
business as a merchant. How this came about, is 
of little consequence to the facts of the story. Losses at 
sea, and failures at home unsuccessful speculation a turn 
of the card ; these have ruined hundreds before, and some 
of them combined, did so in his case. With that spirit of 
honesty, which had hitherto been his pride, he disposed of 
his handsome house, furniture, pictures, everything that 
could remind him of his former position in society, and 
prepared to travel to Scotland, where he intended following 
some calling, in an humble way, among strangers who 
could not know his past history. It was now that he was 
tempted to offer marriage to Jane Fitzwilliam ; for he now 
felt, and said so, that her cherishing care and kindness 
were necessary to his existence. What an unenviable 
position for a young woman so circumstanced as she was ! 
Had he asked her hand during his prosperity, she might, 
perhaps, at once have decided on a refusal ; but now, when 
he was bowed down by sorrow deserted by the world . 
almost helpless but for her how could she act ? She had 
never told him of her young love and could she tell him 
now ? Could she otherwise than shew him in this that 
he had been nursing a viper in his bosom, only to sting 
him incurably at the last ? But who can tell her thoughts, 
her feelings, or paint the agony of her mind ? She was 
bound to her benefactor for a thousand kindnesses, which 
all claimed her gratitude. Yet, again, her poor scholar 
had he no right to be consulted ? She scarcely dared to 
think of him gratitude triumphed over love she did not 
dare to see him .' Perhaps the fact that she was about to 
leave the scenes of her youth, and could be no more haunted 
by the upbraiding presence of her lover that she had now, 
at least, an opportunity of returning a portion of that 
almost paternal love which had been lavished on her since 
infancy, as the wife of his bosom might have swayed her 
in the reply she made to the wishes of Mr Wilson. They 
were married, and reached Scotland together. 

Whatever may be said of the step taken by this young 
woman whether it may be said that she acted unjustly 
towards her lover, or disingenuously towards both lover 
and husband there is this much certain, that she looked 
herself, on her conduct, in the light of a merited and meri- 
torious sacrifice ; and she was now to shew that she felt it 



124 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



to be no such thing. This was, perhaps, the most trying 
difficulty of all ; yet most nobly did she fulfil all the duties 
of a kind and affectionate wife. In consequence of a farewell 
letter which she received from the poor tutor, after 
reaching Scotland her husband, to whom she shewed it, 
was made aware, for the first time, of all that she had 
clone, and must have suffered for his sake, and the 
knowledge, although painful, was not without a favourable 
effect. It made him renew every effort to gain the station 
in society which misfortune had deprived him of, and do 
everything in his power to make life pleasant to his wife. 

Some years ago, I had the good fortune to become 
acquainted with this amiable family. Mr Wilson was 
then not an old man; but, placed beside his wife, he looked 
like one who might be her father rather than her husband. 
He was at that time in easy, if not comfortable circum- 
stances, and his wife had made him the happy father of 
three fine children. Wilson was an agreeable conversa- 
tionist, had seen much, and read a good deal, and his so- 
ciety was always inviting. Many a pleasant chat we have 
had together in his little parlour, which was tastefully orna- 
mented with many of his own productions with the pencil. 
It was quite a treat to spend an evening in his house. His 
wife, if not buoyant in spirits, looked always pleased and 
happy; and so fond of her old man, as she playfully 
called him, that one who did not know the early history of 
the pair, could not but say, judging from every appearance, 
that theirs had been quite a love match. What I liked 
best about her, was her unaffected sincerity of welcome to 
all her husband's friends. Nor did this extend to mere 
words of course, and the ordinary hospitalities of friendly 
intercourse ; she was constantly devising some simple en- 
joyment with which to take her husband and his friends 
by surprise. Thus, on a Christmas eve, has she led a little 
party, headed by the " old man," who had been perhaps 
engaged in business all day, and knew nothing of her 
arrangements, into her parlour, which was pleasantly sur- 
rounded with evergreens, the tables well filled with, dishes 
of her own preparing pure English dishes ! How she did 
enjoy the look and the smile of her husband on such occa- 
sions ! and how her heart beat in unison with his, as he 
would exclaim " Ay, this does bring me in mind of Eng- 
land !" And then he would kiss his youngest boy, and tell 
him to kiss mamma, for being so very kind ! I have just 
now a card of invitation to one of these happy parties lying 
before me the turning up of which the other day, among 
some old letters, set me to write thus far. On reperusing 
it, I am reminded of the joyous night I spent with Wilson 
ami his friends on the occasion. There was music, and 
dancing, and conversation, and fruits, and flowers, and 
faces beaming with happiness. Four years have not elapsed 
since then. That night seems but a dream ; and these faces 
are all gone, or scattered over the world some of them in 
distant lands. 

Poor Wilson was seized with a lingering illness, which 
confined him to bed. The devotedness and attention to 
his every wish and want, which his kind wife then dis- 
played, were beyond anything that could be fabled. In 
that last, painful hour of his pilgrimage on earth, it was 
permitted him to receive a full reward for all his kindness 
to the widow and the orphan. 

Why do I dwell on this part of the history of my friend ! 
I laid his head in the grave, and then returned, with a sad 
heart indeed, to the house of mourning, and lamentation, 
and wo to the mother and her destitute children. Among 
those who attended the funeral, was a near relation of the 
deceased a cold, heartless wretch, who left the procession 
ere it had reached twenty yards from the house. He 
had learned enough, while in the house, waiting till the 
corpse should be lifted, to convince him that his relative 
hud died ia straitened circumstances-^aud it could not well 



be otherwise, considering that Wilson could not for a 
twelvemonth before attend to business. This man, this 
relative, this summer fly, whom I had seen partake, again 
and again, of the kindness and hospitality of the deceased 
and his wife, was the first to turn his back upon the be- 
reaved family. It was little, indeed, that would have been 
asked, or that could have been expected at his hands, but 
advice and consolation ; for, as it was, one or two acquaint- 
ances stepped forward, and relieved the family of their 
pecuniary troubles. 

Here, now, was she who was once the lovely young Jane 
Fitzwilliam, alone in the world, surrounded by strangers, 
who knew nothing, or cared little about her. Here was 
she, with three children to provide for and she was for the 
first time in her life called to exert herself for her own and 
their support. Such situations are, alas ! too common 
so much so, that they make but a sorry figure in a tale, an<? 
even in real life seldom arrest the attention of mankind. 
Did a thought of her first lover now intrude upon her 
mind ? In all that interval, since the farewell letter, she 
had never heard of him ; and I am not sure but she enter- 
tained for him a yearning and lingering affection. 

The poor scholar had made his sacrifices too. On the 
occasion of his severe disappointment, he had departed 
from his native town, and, under feelings of excitation, he 
entered the service of the army. There was nothing 
congenial to his tastes in this situation. He deserted, and 
wandered about the country, a beggar, reckless and 
desperate. On one occasion he had the good fortune to 
introduce himself favourably to a gentleman who had made 
some improvements in a machine connected in some way 
with reed-splitting. Our student had a taste for mechanics, 
and, from being employed first as a common labourer, he 
raised himself to the rank of engineer and overseer in the 
extensive establishment carried on by the gentleman alluded 
to. Such was his situation at the period of Wilson's death. 
That event came to his ears, and he, with a generosity worthy 
of a noble nature, wrote a letter to the widow, in which he 
offered to protect and support herself and children. I know 
not how she felt on the receipt of this letter ; but this 
I know and it is one of the few romances of real life that 
have come under my observation that she is now the wife 
of her first lover. Such is a brief history of a sacrifice, 
which produced much misery to more than one party ; and 
in which we have seen that same misery amply compensated 
for, by a sort of retributive mercy, and by the bringings about 
of a kind Providence. 



THE PIRATE'S DOOM. 

THE island of Cuba, in the West Indies, was, for a long 
period, the noted haunt of pirates or buccaneers, whose 
desperate courage was only equalled by their atrocity- 
men who, having outlawed themselves by their crimes, had 
banded together for the sake of mutual defence ; and who, 
finding themselves opposed by all nations, had taken up 
arms against the whole world. As they were sensible that, 
if taken, they could expect no mercy ; so these miscreants, 
in the spirit of retaliation, determined to shew none to 
those unfortunate victims who fell into their hands. Em- 
boldened by long success, they had at last rendered 
themselves so formidable, as to make traffic in that part 
of the world extremely dangerous. The attention of the 
British government was, at last, turned to the subject, and 
the Oscar frigate was despatched, to root out the ruffians. 
The Oscar was a frigate of the largest class, and, altogether, 
one of the finest in the service. 

The crew of the Oscar had been, most of them, impressed 
into the service against their wills ; and, although sailors, 



TALES OF THE BORDERS. 



125 



in general, dislike a man-of-war,, the desperate nature of 
the service on which they were about to be engaged, tended 
to increase this dislike. Some symptoms of insubordination 
even broke forth before the Oscar left England j but these 
being visited with speedy punishment on the offenders, 
all murmurings for the present were 'checked. 

The naval service of Great Britain at this time, per- 
haps, presented as complicated a scene of tyranny and op- 
pression as is to be found in any period of our history. 
We have already mentioned that many were impressed into 
the service, torn from their families and friends, whose 
faces, perhaps, they were destined never again to behold. 
This, in any state, would be reckoned cruel and unjust ; 
but in a state such as Britain, professing to be the freest 
in the world, it was a perfect anomaly, and quite opposed 
to the very nature and essence of our constitution. Sure 
is the saying of a modern philosopher that slavery has 
often reposed under the shade of liberty. 

The treatment of the men on board was exactly in keep- 
ing with their impressment. For the least offence, they 
were bound up to the gratings at the gangway, and received 
a round dozen on their naked shoulders. Frequently, also, 
were the men punished for the mistake of their officers. 
The veteran sailors who, for their country's cause, had 
ventured their lives and shed their blood, were snubbed by a 
parcel of boys, just let loose from school, to be set over 
men. Daring not to retaliate, they were obliged to brook, in 
sullen silence, the insults and indignities heaped upon 
them by these jackanapes, whose commands, although 
entirely ignorant of the service, the seamen were obliged 
to obey. Nor was this all the sailors were also ill supplied 
with food. For their breakfast, they had what was termed 
skilagilee, or oatmeal and water, not thicker than water- 
gruel ; so thin was it that it was run from the coppers in 
which it was made, by a cock. For their dinner, they had 
one pound of meat and one of bread, the pound only 14 oz. ; 
and the pound of meat included bones, on which, being re- 
moved, there did not remain much more than one good bite ; 
and this, along with a small quantity of hard peas and water, 
was the whole of their daily allowance. Two days in the 
week were, what the sailors called, banyan days, on which 
no meat was served out; but, instead of this, a small 
quantity of butter or cheese sometimes, but rarely, cocoa. 
One day, and one day alone, a quantity of flour was 
allowed, sufficient to make each man a small pudding. This 
allowance of food was quite insufficient for the support of 
the seamen, and they could not have subsisted upon it, but 
for their grog. I have frequently heard an old sailor 
affirm, that hunger has often compelled him to take a 
mouthful of salt to create thirst, in order that, by 
drinking water, he might, in some degree, satisfy the 
cravings of his appetite. And these, too, were the men 
who shed their blood and spent their lives in the ser- 
vice of their country. It is certainly one of the most 
redeeming points in our national character, that those very 
men, suffering all the evils enumerated, should, in the hour 
of battle, forgetting all the injuries which they had endured, 
be mindful only of their country's glory. Ill, indeed, was 
such magnanimity rewarded ! It is a well-known fact, 
that the evils already specified were the chief causes of the 
mutiny of the Nore, to which may, in a great measure, be 
attributed the improvements which have taken place in 
the navy. But to our story : 

The evils which we have mentioned as characterising 
the naval service in general, were fully illustrated in the 
particular case of the Oscar. The cruelty of the officers 
was great ; and the sailors, most of whom had never before 
been in the service, at first only expressed the sense which 
they entertained of their treatment, in oaths and impreca- 
tions against the authors of it, and in suppressed mutter- 
ings amongst each other. At last, seeing no redress, for 



their grievances, and stung almost to madness by the 
wrongs which they suffered, they could bear it no longer. 
A regular organized conspiracy was the result, in which it 
was determined to cut off every commissioned officer oa 
board. 

The Oscar reached the Bahamas without meeting any 
accident, and was becalmed for four days under the east 
side of Long Island. Here the mutiny broke out. It 
was on the evening of the fourth day after their arrival at 
Long Island. The frigate was lying at anchor not a 
breath of wind was stirring the watch for the night had 
been-set, and the first lieutenant, who had the command 
of it, was walking up and down the quarter-deck. A 
shrill whistle was heard from below, when two men came 
behind the lieutenant, and threw him overboard. This 
was the signal for the slaughter all was noise and uproar 
' and, in a few minutes, there was scarcely a commissioned 
officer alive on board. When the mutiny commenced, the 
captain was asleep in his cabin. Alarmed by the noise, 
he hastily rose, and was rushing out to see what was the 
matter ; but was met at the door by the coxswain of his 
barge, who aimed a blow with his cutlass at his head. 
The captain was a strong, powerful man, and he would 
have overpowered the coxswain, but for four other fellows, 
who entered and overpowered him. He was thrown upon 
his back, and the cabin window was opened. 

" Overboard with him !" exclaimed the coxswain. The 
captain begged for mercy. " Mercy !" exclaimed the cox- 
swain ; " what mercy did you shew to me, the other day, 
when you flogged me till the blood came, because I missed 
my foot, and tumbled off the main-yard ? Mercy ! ay, ask 
mercy of the sharks !" 

Dreadful were the captain's shrieks. " Oh ! do not 
murder me !" he screamed out. 

" Overboard with him !" shouted the coxswain ; and, in 
spite of his cries and struggles, the captain was lifted up 
to the window and pushed over. 

As a last effort, he grasped the panel of the window, 
and clung to it with a death's grasp. The coxswain lifted 
his cutlass, and severed the fingers from the hand. The 
captain fell, and disappeared for a moment he rose again 
to the surface it was his last struggle one agonizing 
shriek rose above the billows, and he sank to rise no more. 
The sailors looked a moment in breathless silence, to see 
if he would rise again ; but nothing was seen, save the 
ripple which his disappearing form had left, for a moment, 
upon the surface of the ocean. 

The only officer left alive on board the Oscar, was a 
little midshipman, named Dickey. Dick had, by his 
intercession with the captain, (whose nephew he was,) been 
the means of saving an Irish sailor from being flogged a 
few days before ; and the grateful fellow, at the imminent 
risk of his own life, preserved him from the hands of his 
infuriated shipmates. 

After the massacre of their officers, a consultation was 
held by the sailors as to their future course ; some were for 
joining the pirates of Cuba, whilst others were for selling 
the vessel to the Spanish government, at that time at war 
with Great Britain, and then the crew might dispose of 
themselves as they pleased, afterwards. The last plan 
was agreed to ; the Oscar was sold to the Spanish govern- 
ment, and the sailors dispersed, some to join the pirates, 
others to make their way home again. 

Dreadful was the consternation in England, when the 
news of the mutiny arrived. An immense reward was 
immediately off